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Avimimus portentosus

This small, very bird-like dinosaur is a type of oviraptorid (e.g. Oviraptor and friends). Several individual skeletons and isolated fragments of Avimimus are known, some of which include skulls. In 2008 a team of palaeontologists discovered a bonebed of Avimimus remains in the Nemegt Formation (Late Cretaceous) within the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Quill knobs (the attachment point for feathers) were preserved on the ulna of Avimimus, suggesting that the dinosaur was covered in feathers, though in all probability Avimimus did not fly. 


Avimimus portentosus


Kurzanov, 1981

Meaning of the generic name

Bird mimic


Length: 1.5 m


Holotype (PIN 3907/1):  partial skull and nearly complete skeleton
Paratype (PIN 3906/1
): fragmentary skeleton
Referred specimens: PIN 3907/2 (partial hip)
; PIN 3907/3 (nearly complete skull and skeleton); PIN 3907/4 (fragmentary skeleton); PIN 3907/5 (partial hip); PIN 3907/6 (vertebrae); ZPAL MgD-I/85 (partial foot)

Age and Distribution

Horizon: Nemegt Formation, Late Cretaceous (early Maastrichtian).
Type Locality: Yagaan Khovil, Mongolia.


Dinosauria Theropoda Coelurosauria Maniraptora Oviraptorosauria

  Further Reading

  Kurzanov, S.M. (1981). "An unusual theropod from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia Iskopayemyye pozvonochnyye Mongolii (Fossil Vertebrates of Mongolia)." Trudy Sovmestnay Sovetsko-Mongolskay Paleontologiyeskay Ekspeditsiy (Joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition), 15: 39-49. Nauka Moscow, 1981

Kurzanov, S.M. (1987). "Avimimidae and the problem of the origin of birds." Transactions of the Joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition, 31: 5-92. [in Russian]

Currie, P., Longrich, N., Ryan, M., Eberth, D., and Demchig, B. (2008). "A bonebed of Avimimus sp.
(Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Late Cretaceous Nemegt Formation, Gobi Desert: Insights into social behavior and development in a maniraptoran theropod." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 28(3): 67A.

Life reconstruction of Avimimus portentosus (© Matt Martyniuk)