|Name||Struthiomimus||Diet||Herbivorous or Omnivorous|
|Name Meaning||Ostrich mimic||Height||1.4 meters (4.6 feet)|
|Pronunciation||STROO-thee-oh-MY-mus||Length||4.3 meters (14.11 feet)|
|Era||Mesozoic – Late Cretaceous||Weight||150 kilograms (330 pounds)|
|Classification||Dinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda||Location||Canada (North America)|
Everyone agrees that modern birds descended from dinosaurs.
Going by this theory, the animal that bears the closest resemblance to dinosaurs today is the ostrich.
Interestingly, a group of dinosaurs has been discovered that closely resembled present-day ostriches.
Struthiomimus got its name which translates as “ostrich mimic,” because it looked a lot like an ostrich.
This bipedal theropod dinosaur is part of a larger group of dinosaurs known as the ornithomimid dinosaurs, all known for their close semblance to flightless birds.
Ornithomimus is one of the most popular members of this group and a close relative of the Struthiomimus.
Struthiomimus lived in Canada during the Late Cretaceous Period, about 75 million years ago.
Although it was first discovered by Lawrence Lambe in 1901, the paleontological history of this dinosaur has been plagued with so many errors due to it being inaccurately assigned to the wrong group.
Subsequent research and the discovery of additional fossils have helped to clarify some of these errors.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the well-known facts about the Struthiomimus.
Struthiomimus was a medium-sized dinosaur that looked like a featherless ostrich.
It had a morphology similar to that of other ornithomimids.
This includes long slender necks, a small head, and long spindly legs.
The long neck made up at least 40% of the dinosaur’s total length.
The Struthiomimus tail was relatively long as well.
It was quite stiff and muscular, prompting speculations that it may have helped balance the dinosaur’s long neck.
This dinosaur’s small head ended in a relatively small toothless beak and relatively large eyes on the side of its face.
This bipedal dinosaur stood at an estimated height of about 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) at the hips and was about 4.3 to 4.8 meters (14.1–16 feet).
The average weight of this dinosaur has been estimated to be between 150 and 350 kilograms (330–770 pounds).
Size estimates vary for the different species identified in the genus.
Although it walked on its hind limbs, the Struthiomimus’ arms were still quite long and comparatively strong.
The forelimbs had powerful claws similar to that of other ornithomimids.
But Struthiomimus’ claws were longer compared to that of its relatives and also slightly curved.
The rest of the forelimbs were more robust than that of the Ornithomimus.
The three-toed feet of this dinosaur were quite bird-like.
They had long foot bones (metatarsals) that didn’t touch the ground, just like that of birds and many other dinosaurs.
Struthiomimus is often depicted as a featherless dinosaur.
However, experts now think it might have had feathers all over its body.
This is yet to be confirmed by any direct fossil evidence.
Habitat and Distribution
Struthiomimus lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous Period.
Fossils of this dinosaur have been found in parts of present-day Canada and the United States.
The geographic range of the Struthiomimus probably covered parts of present-day Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Struthiomimus was a versatile dinosaur that lived in a wide range of habitats depending on the environmental conditions or availability of resources.
The preferred habitat of this dinosaur was most likely floodplains and river valleys in coastal areas.
The dinosaur’s limbs were well-adapted to running, which suggests it spent a lot of time in open plains and similar landscapes.
The interior of western North America, where Struthiomimus lived during the Late Cretaceous Period, was part of the Western Interior Seaway.
This was a vast inland sea that split North America into western and eastern landmasses.
The land surrounding this prehistoric seaway was characterized by coastal plains, river systems, and wetland habitats.
Behavior and Diet
Struthiomimus was a fast and agile bipedal dinosaur.
It moved on its long hind limbs, which were well-adapted to running.
The Struthiomimus’ long, slender legs and lightweight body allowed it to reach impressive speeds.
Estimates suggest that this dinosaur’s top speed was up to 30–40 miles per hour (48–64 kilometers per hour).
Ornithomimid dinosaurs are known for their gregarious lifestyle.
Scientists have found at least one bone bed with multiple Sinornithomimus.
This suggests that they lived in groups.
This sort of group behavior protected them against predators.
The Struthiomimus’ diet is one of the most debated aspects of this dinosaur’s behavior.
Its toothless beak and long neck suggest that it primarily fed on vegetation.
The dinosaur’s diet likely included leaves, fruits, seeds, and low-lying plants like ferns.
The shape of its beak was likely well-suited for cropping and snipping plant material.
Scientists also point to the unusual structure of the Struthiomimus’ forelimbs as additional evidence of an herbivorous diet.
This dinosaur’s second and third fingers were fused to form a sort of hook or clamp that would have been effective for grasping tree branches or fern fronds to bring them within reach.
In addition to plant materials, Struthiomimus might have also consumed small animals and insects opportunistically.
Although it lacked sharp teeth for hunting, its beak could have been used to catch small prey, which it swallowed whole, as many modern-day birds do.
This omnivorous behavior could have been advantageous for this dinosaur which lived alongside much bigger herbivores and carnivores.
This unique diet differentiated the Struthiomimus’ niche, increasing its chances of survival.
Like other dinosaurs, Struthiomimus reproduced sexually.
Although no eggs or eggshell fragments belonging to the Struthiomimus or any other ornithomimid have been found, it’s almost certain that they reproduce by laying eggs.
Mating in this genus may have involved elaborate displays and other forms of mating behaviors.
After mating, female Struthiomimus would have sought out suitable nesting sites to lay their eggs.
Their eggs were either buried underground or in nests made out of grass in locations well-protected from predators.
Since they exhibited social behavior, Struthiomimus likely provided some form of parental care for their young.
This may have involved guarding their nests until the young hatched.
Juveniles probably remained with the herd for protection against predators.
Juvenile Struthiomimus would have experienced rapid growth, reaching sexual maturity and adult size within a few years.
The pace of growth might have varied among individuals and could have been influenced by factors in their immediate ecosystem, such as food availability and environmental conditions.
Evolution and History
Struthiomimus is a member of the family Ornithomimidae, a group of theropod dinosaurs that lived during the Late Cretaceous.
Fossils of this group of dinosaurs have been primarily found in North America and Asia.
The ornithomimids evolved for the first time in the Early Cretaceous, and some representatives of the group were alive until the end of the period.
The older relatives of the Struthiomimus, such as the Pelecanimimus and Harpymimus, had strong jaws lined with numerous teeth.
They were also smaller in size compared to later groups.
The ornithomimids that evolved later, such as the Struthiomimus, had comparatively weaker beaks with no teeth.
They were also much bigger compared to earlier forms.
With the change in beak structure came a change in their diet too.
These dinosaurs ate insects, small lizards, mammals, and plants as well.
Ornithomimids are the only group of theropod dinosaurs (apart from the therizinosaurs) that evolved to feed on plants.
The omnivorous diet of dinosaurs like the Struthiomimus allowed them to occupy a unique ecological niche and compete successfully with the larger dinosaurs of their day.
Struthiomimus is among the most common dinosaurs known to have lived in parts of present-day Dinosaur Provincial Park in Canada.
Interactions With Other Species
Being an omnivorous or herbivorous dinosaur means the Struthiomimus wasn’t very high up the food chain.
It preyed on small reptiles, insects, and small mammals in its ecosystem.
This dinosaur lived alongside other bigger dinosaurs, which means it was a potential prey as well.
To escape attacks from these predators, the Struthiomimus relied on its speed and agility.
It also had long claws on its feet and arms that could deliver a deadly blow to predators.
Smaller carnivorous dinosaurs, such as dromaeosaurids (e.g., Velociraptor) and troodontids, were present in its ecosystem.
These small dinosaurs would have competed for the same food and other resources.
They could have also targeted juveniles or weaker individuals of Struthiomimus.
Large predatory birds or pterosaurs might have also preyed upon the young or smaller individuals.
Struthiomimus has been known for more than a century.
Despite this, this dinosaur is now as popular both in paleontological circles and to the general public compared to the Ornithomimus.
The major reason for this dinosaur’s relative obscurity is the mixup of its identity when it was first identified.
When Lawrence Lambe discovered the first fossil of this dinosaur in 1901, he thought it was a species of the Ornithomimus.
It took about 16 years before Henry Fairfield Osborn (the same scientist that named the Tyrannosaurus) found new fossils and identified the Struthiomimus as a separate genus.
Since then, several fossils of this dinosaur have turned up across different locations in North America.
Based on these fossils, scientists identified several additional species within the Struthiomimus genus, but many of them were later found to be invalid.
Although considered one of the most abundant fossils of the Late Cretaceous Period, most fossils of this dinosaur are found in poor condition, which has made it difficult to fully study and understand it.
Despite these challenges, scientists have been able to learn a lot of interesting information from studying the fossils of this dinosaur.
The unique features of the Struthiomimus’ including its ostrich-like appearance, omnivorous habits, and swift speed, make it an intriguing subject for scientific research.
Struthiomimus itself isn’t well-known to the general public, but the ornithomimids have made notable appearances in mainstream media.
One of the most popular ones is a Cameo in the 1993 Jurassic Park movie, which featured a Gallimimus
Books, documentaries, and museum references to this dinosaur are relatively common.
Struthiomimus was an ostrich-like dinosaur that lived in parts of North America during the Late Cretaceous Period.
It was a medium-sized dinosaur characterized by a long and flexible neck, a toothless skull, and a generally bird-like posture.
Struthiomimus roamed the coastal plains of North America about 75 million years ago.
Experts believe it was either an herbivore or omnivore adapted to eating vegetation and hunting prey.
This long-legged dinosaur was one of the most common in its ecosystem.
This means it was a relatively successful dinosaur genus represented by numerous individuals of different species.
What hunted Struthiomimus?
Struthiomimus was a medium-sized dinosaur, meaning it was an ideal prey for several predator species in Cretaceous North America.
Some of the likely predators of this dinosaur include Daspletosaurus and Gorgosaurus.
Was Struthiomimus the fastest dinosaur?
Struthiomimus was built for speed, reaching an average speed of about 30 miles per hour (48 km/h).
Interestingly, it wasn’t the fastest dinosaur ever found.
Jerry Young is a self-proclaimed prehistoric animal nerd. He has been fascinated with these ancient creatures for as long as he can remember, and his passion for them continues to this day. With his extensive knowledge and love for prehistoric animals, he is the perfect fit for Gage Beasley Prehistoric.