Avimimus (meaning "bird mimic") was a recently discovered maniraptoran. It was a very fast moving, light-weight, bird-like theropod dinosaur that lived in the late Cretaceous in what is now Mongolia, around 70 million years ago. that may have had feathers. There are two known species, Avimimus portentosus and Avimimus nemegtensis.
|Skeleton cast mount at Science Center of Iowa|
The forelimbs were relatively short. The bones of the hand were fused together, as in modern birds, and a ridge on the ulna (lower arm bone) was interpreted as an attachment point for feathers by Kurzanov. Kurzanov, in 1987, also reported the presence of quill knobs, and while Chiappe confirmed the presence of bumps on the ulna, their function remained unclear. Kurzanov was so convinced they were attachment points for feathers that he concluded that Avimimus may have been capable of weak flight. The presence of feathers is now widely accepted, but most paleontologists do not believe Avimimus could fly.
- 'Avimimus'. In: Dodson, Peter et al. The Age of Dinosaurs. Publications International. p130. ISBN 0-7853-0443-6.
- 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]
- Chiappe L.M. and Witmer L.M. 2002. Mesozoic birds: above the heads of dinosaurs. Berkeley: University of California Press, 536 pp. ISBN 0520200942