ANSERIMIMUS (AN-sair-ah-MIME-us)

Period: Late Cretaceous

Order, Suborder, Family: Saurischia, Theropoda, Ornithomimidae

Location: Asia (Mongolia)

Length: 10 feet (3 meters)

All known ornithomimids, or "ostrich dinosaurs," were similar and can be told apart only by minor details. They all have names that end in -mimus (meaning "mimic" or "imitator"). The root of the name comes from the names of birds or other flying creatures. The ornithomimid Anserimimus planinychus, described by Mongolian paleontologist Rinchen Bars-bold in 1988, has the name "goose mimic." Its species name means "flat-clawed," for the flattened claws on its hands. These claws distinguish it from other ornithomimids.

Anserimimus is known from a single headless partial skeleton; mainly the arms and feet were preserved. This skeleton was found in the Nemegt Formation of Bugeen-Tsav, Mongolia. It had more powerful front limbs than other ornithomimids. The three-fingered hands, like those of most other ornithomimids, could weakly grasp objects. The arms, hands, and spade-like finger claws seem built for rooting through loosely packed soil or plant matter-possibly for finding nests of dinosaur eggs.