07 November 2016

Dinovember 2016, Day 7

Ornitholestes doesn't mind you noticing his baldness. 
Name: Ornitholestes hermanni
Meaning: [AMNH fossil preparator Adam] Hermann's bird robber
Time: Late Jurassic, c 154 million years ago
Place: Wyoming
Size: about 2 metres (6.6 feet) long and 15 kilograms (33 pounds)
Type of Dinosaur: tyrannoraptoran coelurosaur (birdlike predatory dinosaur)

Despite being one of the better-known coelurosaurs and small dinosaurs of the Jurassic Period, Ornitholestes is only known from one specimen, unearthed in 1900 at Bone Cabin Quarry in Wyoming - the site where the Diplodocus limbs and Dryosaurus skeleton on display at the Beneski Museum are from. In fact, Amherst College's very own bone bloodhound, Frederic Brewster Loomis, was a member of the team that excavated the single skeleton during his days working for the American Museum of Natural History.

The relationships of Ornitholestes have long been contentious, but it's definitely a bird-like coelurosaur, and thus would've had some sort of feathery covering. I've given this one a naked, bare-skinned head, both a nod to Gregory S Paul's 1988 Predatory Dinosaurs of the World restoration and just a look that I like to use a lot. The rest of the body is covered in loose feathers, with longer ones forming a sort of ruff at the base of the neck. And no, it doesn't have a little crest on its nose - that common element of Ornitholestes reconstructions was based on crushing of the skull during fossilisation.

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