Episode 261 is all about Pelecanimimus, the “pelican mimic” with over 200 teeth.
We also interview with Stuart Sumida, biology professor at California State University, San Bernardino, and an anatomical consultant to special effect artists and animators. He’s worked on over 50 films with many studios (Disney, Pixar, ILM, many more) as well as with games (Blizzard), written books, published numerous scientific articles, and led digs around the world.
In this episode, we discuss:
- A new remarkable early herrerasaurid, Gnathovorax cabreirai, was found in Brazil source
- A new set of Oryctodromeus fossils were found in Idaho including at least one new burrow source
- Crystal Palace dinosaur park in the UK may be getting a new, permanent bridge so visitors can get closer to the dinosaurs source
- Avengers #26 will show the “first superhero” in the Marvel Universe, a T. rex source
The dinosaur of the day: Pelecanimimus
- Basal ornithomimosaur that lived in the Early Cretaceous in what is now Spain (Las Hoyas fossil site)
- Holotype consists of the front half of the skeleton (skull, lower jaws, neck and back vertebrae, ribs, sternum, pectoral girdle, complete right forelimb and most of the left forelimb, as well as soft tissue at the back of the skull, around the neck and front limbs)
- About 6.6-8.2 ft (2-2.5 m) long
- Had a long, narrow skull
- Had wrinkled skin impressions, so probably didn’t have scales or feathers (though not 100% sure)
- Soft tissue remains found that show there was a small skin or keratin crest on the back of the head, and a throat pouch (gular pouch) similar to what modern pelican’s have
- Also found specialized tongue bones in the neck
- May have been like a crane, and waded into lakes or ponds and catching fish and storing them in its skin flap
- Had hook-like hands, with fingers that were all similar length with straight claws
- Had the most teeth of ornithomimosaurs (most of them were toothless)
- Had about 220 small teeth that were heterodont (the ones in front were broad, the ones in back were blade-like, and teeth in the upper jaw were bigger than teeth in the lower jaw)
- Teeth were unserrated
- Possibly used teeth for cutting and ripping (could work like a beak, like a slicing effect, according to Pérez-Moreno et al.)
- Muscle remnants found
- Gregory Paul suggested Pelecanimimus may have been able to fly or descended recently from an animal that could fly, based on its large sternal plates, which may mean there were muscles for flying
- Type species is Pelecanimimus polyodon
- Genus name means “pelican mimic”
- Species name refers to its many teeth
- Found in 1993 by Armando Díaz Romeral
- Described in 1994 by Bernardino Pérez Pérez-Moreno and others
- Holotype now at the Museo de Cuenca in Spain
- Other animals in the same time and place included enantiornithines, theropods, sauropods, lizards, salamanders, early mammals, pterosaurs, and crocodylomorphs
Fun Fact: We’ve talked about cursorial animals before, but there are also graviportal & lesser-used mediportal animals.
This episode is brought to you in part by Why Dinosaurs? The feature length documentary celebrating dinosaurs and the people who love them, created by father and son team Tony and James Pinto, support them and get perks on Indiegogo.