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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Dromiceiomimus

Dromiceiomimus, meaning “emu mimic”, is a genus of bipedal dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period (80 to 65 million years ago). Its fossils were discovered in the 1920s. This dinosaur was initially given the name Struthiomimus brevitertius and S. samueli, but was renamed in 1972 to D. brevitertius after an extensive study of North American ornithomimosaurs. Fossils have been recovered from the Horseshoe Canyon and Judith River Formations in Alberta, Canada.

Dromiceiomimus was about 12 feet long and weighed 220 to 330 pounds. It was a bird-like theropod and had very long limbs, hollow bones, and a large brain and eyes. It had a toothless beak and weak jaws. Although it had a large brain, this doesn’t automatically mean it had greater intelligence. Some paleontologists think that the enlarged areas of the brain was used more for coordination. The leg structure indicates that Dromiceiomimus was well suited for rapid sprinting. The tibia was 20% longer than the femur. Its large eyes were most likely used for keen visual hunting. It may have been a nocturnal hunter and forager.

Although debated, paleontologist Dale Russell believed that Dromiceiomimus may have been entirely carnivorous, feeding mostly on eggs and smaller animals. Its body shape would have made it more suited for a herbivorous lifestyle. However, it may have eaten insects, fruit, eggs, and small lizards and mammals.

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Dromiceiomimus