Temporal range: Upper Jurassic
|This is the only fossil of Ornitholestes (AMNH)|
Ornitholestes was a carnivorous dinosaur which lived in the Upper Jurassic period about 156–145 million years ago. It was about 2 metres long (6.6 feet), half of which was its long tail. Only one specimen of it has ever been found.
It is one of a group of small, fast-running dinosaurs which are classified as early Coelurosaurs. It is known from a partial skeleton found near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, in 1900. It was described by paleontologist Henry F. Osborn in 1903.
Description[change | change source]
Ornitholestes was a bipedal runner. Its small head suggests it ate small mammals, lizards, frogs, and hatchling dinosaurs. It could grasp prey with both hands. It is likely that all coelurosaurs had feathers.