Gallimimus is a genus of medium-sized theropod dinosaur in the family Ornithomimidae. Its name means “chicken mimic,” describing the shape of its neck vertebrae which somewhat resemble those of ground birds in the order Galliformes. The entire dinosaur is birdlike, in fact, resembling modern-day varieties of flightless cursorial birds. It originally lived in central Asia during the Cretaceous period, roughly 70 million years ago, with fossils being found in what is now Mongolia. There is one known species, Gallimimus bullatus; the species name references the bulla, a type of locket-like amulet given to nine-day-old boys in Ancient Rome. Gallimimus has a bulge on the base of its skull which reminded its discoverers of a bulla.
This dinosaur was discovered during the Polish-Mongolian paleontological expeditions into the Gobi Desert between 1963 and 1965. These were among the first major paleontological expeditions headed almost completely by women, several of whom named new dinosaur species. In the Nemegt Basin, numerous ornithomimid remains were recovered from sand beds, including some of multiple different growth stages. The largest was discovered by paleobiologist Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska in 1964, and more were discovered later in the 1960s. Fossils found here were housed in Poland, Mongolia, and the USSR, and in 1972, the large specimen discovered by Kielan-Jaworowska was named Gallimimus bullatus by paleontologists Halszka Osmólska, Ewa Roniewicz, and Rinchen Barsbold.
When it was described, Gallimimus was the best-known of all the ornithomimids and shed considerable light into the evolution and ecology of these unusual theropods. More fossils have been discovered in the twenty-first century, but among other Mongolian dinosaurs, Gallimimus is often the target of fossil poaching. Several significant fossils of this dinosaur, including a rare example preserving both the animal itself and a set of footprints, have been smuggled out of Mongolia for private collectors in other countries such as the United States.
This dinosaur was cloned during the early 1990s by International Genetic Technologies, Inc. on Isla Sorna following some years of research beginning in 1983. Ancient DNA was obtained from Cretaceous-aged Mongolian amber with inclusions of mosquitoes and other blood-drinking organisms, supplemented with DNA from modern amphibians to replaced decayed segments of dinosaurian genome. As of June 1993, InGen had created up to Version 2.035 of this animal. After being released into the Pacific Northwest in 2018, it can now be found around the world.
Growing between 15 and 26 feet (4.7 to 7.9 meters) long, InGen’s Gallimimus are larger than those known from fossils, but it is uncertain whether this is a result of genetic engineering or life in captive conditions. More recently bred animals have averaged a foot taller than those initially created by InGen, suggesting that good living conditions may be the explanation. They can reach 6.2 feet (1.9 meters) tall at the hips, with a total height of 9.8 feet (3 meters), and adults weigh between 450 and 1000 pounds (992.1 and 453.6 kilograms) with 970 pounds (439.99 kilograms) being the average weight suggested by fossils.
Gallimimus is markedly different from most other nonavian theropods, being adapted to a foraging rather than hunting lifestyle. While the majority of theropods are predatory carnivores, Gallimimus is omnivorous and feeds mainly on plants and small animals. This dinosaur lacks teeth and instead has a keratinous beak similar to that of a bird; it does have tooth-like lamellae similar to those of geese. These lamellae help it grip food items in its mouth, especially slipperier food such as worms and amphibians. They may also help it cut through plant matter. Its pinkish tongue is narrow and pointed, while the beak is flattened and roseate. The u-shape of its snout tip differs it from North American ornithomimids, which have v-shaped snout tips.
It has large sideways-facing eyes with round pupils; the irises are narrow and dark, often indistinguishable, but the sclerae are distinctly yellow. The eyes are flat, and not mobile within the socket. Combined with the reduced binocular vision, this means that Gallimimus needs to turn its entire head to change the direction in which it is looking. Its vision is not fully stereoscopic, but is more like that of a typical prey animal than a hunter.
This dinosaur’s head is perched atop a long and skinny neck, which is somewhat (though not extremely) flexible and gives it a good vantage point from which to view its surroundings. By raising its head up high, it can survey the nearby area to keep a lookout for predators. Normally the neck and head are held at a thirty-five-degree angle compared to the body. The shoulders and arms are comparatively weak, with the arms being shorter than those of other ornithomimids. Its hands bear three fingers, each of which ends in a long claw; despite their size, they are inefficient as weapons because it lacks powerful arm muscles. Its first finger is the strongest, while the third is the weakest; its middle finger is the longest. As with most InGen theropods, the wrists are capable of being pronated, unlike the original animal.
While its arms are weak, the same cannot be said about its powerful legs. The bones of its legs are long, slender, and straight; its hips and legs are muscular and capable of propelling this animal forward at speeds of thirty to thirty-five miles per hour (48.3 to 56.3 kilometers per hour). Some sources such as Jurassic World: The Game suggest that, at a dead sprint, this dinosaur’s speed could top off at sixty miles per hour (96.6 kilometers per hour), though it probably could not hold such a speed for long due to the weight of its tail and arms. To help it gain purchase on the ground, its three toes end in curved claws. Like all ornithomimids but unlike other types of theropods, it lacks a dewclaw. The body of Gallimimus is thin and athletic, with hollow bones like a bird, and it is generally built to be nimble and fleet of foot. Its tail is short and nondescript, serving largely to balance while running.
Earlier scripts for Jurassic Park, and some remaining supplementary material from 1993, describe Gallimimus eggs and hatchlings in the wild (in the final film, this role was filled by Velociraptor). This would mean that InGen Gallimimus can change sex from female to male, a process called protogyny, and breed. However, it has never been truly confirmed. If this is the case, their genome probably includes structures taken from the common reed frog, Hyperolius viridiflavus.
In prehistory, this dinosaur would have had feathers, particularly forming wing-like structures on the arms, making it resemble a modern ostrich even more. However, due to complications in genetic engineering, most InGen theropod genomes include a null allele where the gene for feather development would normally occur, and instead develop scaly skin. Gallimimus is among the casualties, showing small, pebbly scales covering most of its body and larger rectangular scales on the digits similar to many modern birds. These are probably the only regions of its body where its skin may resemble that of its ancestor, since birds have similar scales on their feet. Sources disagree as to whether InGen intended to create feathered specimens by resolving genomic errors, or if scaly specimens performed better with test audiences and remained the company standard for that reason.
Gallimimus is relatively colorful, with skin tones ranging from light peach through all shades of orange and including various earthy tans and browns. Similar to Velociraptor, patterning on the dorsal side is common, with stripes, blotches, and saddleback patterns known. The color of these patterns is usually darker than the main body; purplish or bluish is common for stripes, while blotches tend to be a burnt orange or brown, and saddlebacks are usually light brown or faded lavender. The pattern usually occurs on the shoulders and disappears toward the hips, though stripes on the neck or tail are not uncommon. There is usually beige or cream-colored countershading, and the neck is typically grayer while the head may be yellower.
Fossil evidence shows that the elbow tip of Gallimimus becomes more prominent with age, while the snout elongates. Like in many juvenile animals, the eyes and skull are proportionally larger at young ages. When the animal hatches, it has leg proportions not too dissimilar to the fully-grown adult, and is capable of running at a decent speed from a very young age. This is a vital adaptation for an animal whose main defense is outrunning its predators. The arms, in contrast, are shorter in juveniles than adults. In de-extinct specimens, the juvenile and subadult stages have been observed directly, demonstrating the coloration changes that occur throughout life as well. The colors of the young juvenile are plainer than those of adults, usually with simple brown or dusted orange color and minimal striping.
While cloned Gallimimus lack feathers, fossil evidence suggests that the wing-like feather structures on the arms would have grown in when the animal reached maturity. These were probably used during courtship displays.
Colors dramatically change during adolescence, with silvery or white horizontal spots appearing on the sides of the body while the overall color darkens. This color may help the older juveniles and subadults hide in forested environments, similar to the brown-and-white spotted patterns on deer fawns. The spots appear to turn into stripes as the animal ages. Once adulthood is reached, these whitish streaks transform into the colors of the mature animal, which likely indicates sexual maturity. The growth rate is unknown, but appears to be fairly rapid and adulthood is probably reached in just a short few years. InGen historically used growth-accelerating hormone formulas to cause early maturity, making it even harder to determine exactly how fast a Gallimimus would naturally grow.
There is as of yet no concrete description of sexual dimorphism in Gallimimus, but it has been suggested that the color patterns may differ between males and females. Generally, male dinosaurs have darker and more vivid colors than females, suggesting that the burnt-orange colors and dark splotches may more often belong to male Gallimimus while the peachy brown and earthy colors belong to females.
In prehistory, this dinosaur lived on semi-arid floodplains with seasonal rainfall. Fossil evidence suggests that it lived near rivers and other bodies of fresh water. Since being recreated, it has adapted well to a variety of environments, mostly warm areas such as tropical grassland, semi-arid desert, cloud forest, and coniferous forest. However, it is warm-blooded and can withstand cold temperatures. Since it survives by running away from danger, it prefers wide-open spaces.
Gallimimus was originally bred by InGen on Isla Sorna probably sometime in the early 1990s. This is estimated because earlier Jurassic Park scripts imply that Gallimimus of supposedly all-female populations were breeding, meaning they were capable of protogyny (this was, however, changed to Velociraptor in the final film, indicating it may not be canon). Since recent developments revealed that the genes coding for protogyny were first accidentally integrated into dinosaurian genomes in 1991, Gallimimus would have to have been created after this.
In any case, this theropod was probably created within the Embryonics building in the western island. Those that were approved for Park exhibition were shipped to Isla Nublar once they grew old enough, while others were kept on Site B for research.
After the 1993 incident on Isla Nublar, production on Isla Sorna ceased due to InGen’s developing financial crisis. In 1995, Hurricane Clarissa necessitated a full evacuation, and the animals were turned loose into the wild under the assumption that they would die out due to the lysine contingency. Like the other dinosaurs, Gallimimus survived by feeding on lysine-rich food sources, which exist in abundance in nature. As of 1993, InGen recorded twenty Gallimimus living on Isla Sorna.
Not much is known about the population between 1993 and 1997, though satellite thermal imaging of the island revealed a Gallimimus population in the east in early 1997. During the 1997 expeditions to Isla Sorna, between fifteen and thirty adults were seen on a northeastern game trail; two of these were captured by InGen and held at an encampment in the north. During the first night of the incident, activists released the captured animals, which fled into the surrounding forest.
New animals were introduced to Isla Sorna illegally between late 1998 and mid-1999, upsetting the already-strained ecosystem of the small island. Although the Gallimimus is capable of dining on a wide variety of foods, the competition it now faced was intense. Left to its own devices, it may have outlasted some of its competitors, but human interest intervened anyway; between January 2004 and May 2005, operations came underway within InGen to relocate the remaining dinosaurs from Isla Sorna to Isla Nublar. Supposedly this was concluded by the time Jurassic World opened on May 30, 2005 and no dinosaurs remain on Isla Sorna. However, the continuation of poaching activity near the Muertes Archipelago suggests that some specimens of interest may still live there.
Jurassic Park: San Diego
This was among the species planned to appear in the revival of InGen’s Jurassic Park: San Diego, which had been the original incarnation of Jurassic Park before the Isla Nublar locale was decided upon. Since Gallimimus had probably not yet been cloned when the San Diego park was initially passed up in favor of an island, it was likely only ever planned for the second attempt. Although several Gallimimus were captured from Isla Sorna in 1997, interference from animal rights activists released them back into the wild. None were ever successfully brought to San Diego.
This dinosaur was first introduced to Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar in the early 1990s; earlier scripts imply that it was among the more recent creations as of 1993. It was given a smaller, narrower paddock in the grasslands of the island centered on the Jungle River. Virtually its entire northern border contacted what was originally intended to be the Velociraptor paddock (after raptors were deemed unsuitable for Park exhibition, this paddock was intended to contain the more manageable Herrerasaurus instead). Only a small part of the northwestern border contacted the primary herbivore paddock. The rest of its habitat bordered the main tour road, separated from it by a concrete moat; this was the only part of the paddock that was not cordoned off by a 24-foot electric fence. Some maps imply that this dinosaur would have been exhibited in the southern region of the island eventually.
As of June 11, 1993, there were at least 36 Gallimimus on Isla Nublar; six of these were subadults. Earlier scripts for the film imply that these dinosaurs could breed due to protogyny, implying the existence of terminal males; however, this has never been confirmed in canon. On June 11, the power to the island’s security systems was cut during a case of corporate espionage, and during the ensuing blackout the Gallimimus flock escaped its enclosure. They appear to have made for the adjoining herbivore paddock, inhabited by Parasaurolophus and Brachiosaurus. However, they were not the only theropods to move into this paddock; they were followed by the Tyrannosaurus, which preyed upon and killed an adult Gallimimus during the morning of June 12. Power to the electric fences was restored that day, but damage to Park infrastructure was already great enough to allow the dinosaurs to roam wherever they chose.
By the time InGen stopped monitoring the island in 1993, the Gallimimus population had dwindled to 24. Predation from the Tyrannosaurus continued to reduce their numbers; by October 5, 1994, only nine remained.
It is unknown how many Gallimimus, if any, were still alive by April 2002 when InGen landed on Isla Nublar again under the wing of Masrani Global Corporation. The skeletal remains of one adult were found in the central valley area, where the first animal killed in 1993 had died, but it is not known whether this was the same individual. If any were still alive, Masrani Global and InGen would have protected them from further predation, eventually moving them into the central valley by 2004 as the park was rebuilt as Jurassic World. This valley was gradually worked into the Gyrosphere attraction, and a specific zone was designated Gallimimus Valley by 2014. The population from Isla Sorna was shipped to Isla Nublar, and breeding of this animal commenced in the Hammond Creation Laboratory.
The population increased again; as of August 2004 there were at least three and probably more, but by December 2015, there were at least 48 adults in the valley. Juveniles were kept in the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo until they were old enough to live mostly on their own; in December 2015 there were at least 17 juveniles, all of fairly young age.
On December 22, 2015, Jurassic World experienced a serious safety incident which permanently closed the park. The Gallimimus were now on their own, and once more, they were subject to predators. It is unknown whether the juveniles were released into the valley by their caretakers, or if any survived; none were seen in subsequent years. With a larger starting population of 48 adults and plenty more prey species for the predators to hunt, though, the Gallimimus stood a better chance of survival.
The central valley, though a prime habitat for this grassland-loving species, was no longer safe. They were forced to seek a home elsewhere, many migrating north. Most appear to have inhabited the northwestern region of Isla Nublar, in the forests near Mount Sibo. At least one was killed in June 2016 by a Scorpios rex, which decimated the populations of numerous species on the island.
This habitat would not remain tranquil for long; in early 2017 tectonic activity reawakened the volcano, connecting it to high-pressure magma chambers beneath Isla Nublar. Pressure built up under the island for the next year, and this had devastating effects on the island’s ecosystem. Living so close to the volcano put Gallimimus in danger, stressing the population even further. The skeletal remains of a subadult were seen near Radio Bunker 02-17 on June 23, 2018, though it appeared fairly intact and probably was not killed in an attack. At that time there were 34 adults seen near the eastern side of the volcano, with a further six adults having been captured by mercenaries led by hunter Ken Wheatley prior to that day. This gives a total population of at least 40 as of that point in time, a decrease from the 48 adults and 17 juveniles living in the park when it closed.
On June 23, Mount Sibo explosively erupted, devastating Isla Nublar. Since the Gallimimus were so close to the volcano, they were immediately affected by its eruption; toxic gases, ash clouds, and volcanic bombs killed many of them. Some leapt over the northwestern cliffs, falling hundreds of feet into the sea below. Many probably drowned, or died on impact through falling from such a height. Those Gallimimus that survived would have faced the ultimate challenge in survival, with the island’s plant life mostly incinerated and the small prey animals starved, killed, or poisoned. While some opportunistic scavengers may yet survive on Isla Nublar by remaining in the south, living off hardy plants and oceanic detritus, the larger body size of Gallimimus makes its prospects bleak. It is unlikely that any remain on the island today, with volcanic activity still continuing; the only survivors are believed to be those removed on the S.S. Arcadia.
The last Gallimimus taken off the island was loaded onto the Arcadia during the eruption itself, logged into the manifest at 13:43 and cosigned by Moti Biran. This animal was held in Container #25-1009-5810 (Cargo #84112). It was weighed at 190 kilograms, making it noticeably underweight.
Mantah Corp Island
Although Mantah Corporation captured and exploited several species of de-extinct animal at a facility located on Mantah Corp Island during the 2000s and 2010s, there is no evidence Gallimimus was among them. This may have been because the company administration wanted to exhibit only larger, more exciting species.
BioSyn Genetics Sanctuary
The release of de-extinct animals into the wild prompted several nations’ governments to seek a solution, and some including the United States contracted BioSyn Genetics to capture and contain the animals. In February 2021, smuggler Kayla Watts was contracted to transport three adult Gallimimus and a juvenile to the BioSyn Genetics Sanctuary located in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy.
These dinosaurs inhabit the more open areas of the valley, remaining somewhat near water and herds of other herbivorous animals. In the spring of 2022, a human-caused wildfire destroyed parts of the valley’s forest; during the fire the animals were herded into the emergency containment area beneath BioSyn’s headquarters. Once the fire was extinguished, they were able to return to what remained of their habitats. Gallimimus thrives in open space, so it was likely more comfortable than some of its neighbors. After the incident, the United Nations took up an administrative position over the valley, ending BioSyn’s exclusive access to the area and its facilities.
There is currently no evidence of Gallimimus being brought to the mainland prior to 2018, though poaching is known to have occurred in both the Muertes Archipelago and on Isla Nublar. The first confirmed case of this dinosaur being removed from the islands where it was created is June 23, 2018; at least six adults were taken from Isla Nublar illegally by a mercenary team led by Ken Wheatley and hired by Eli Mills of the Lockwood Foundation. These animals were captured and transported via the S.S. Arcadia to the Lockwood estate near Orick, California to be sold on the black market on June 24; however, none are confirmed to have been sold that night. During the incident at the manor, a hydrogen cyanide leak imperiled the captured but unsold dinosaurs, and to prevent them from dying out completely, they were released by Maisie Lockwood into the surrounding woodland.
The smaller size of this dinosaur makes it an ideal target for poachers, though its DNA is also on the market and is likely much easier to obtain. Like many de-extinct animals, specimens of Gallimimus may be obtained at the Amber Clave night market in Valletta, Malta, known to be the most notorious hub of de-extinct animal trafficking in the world.
Gallimimus is one of many dinosaurs originally found in central Asia, where Mongolia is currently established. It existed during the later part of the Cretaceous period, with fossils dated to about seventy million years ago. Gallimimus lived in areas that featured abundant fresh water, with many rivers in the environment. Changing conditions in its world eventually led it to become extinct, though samples of DNA were recovered millions of years later by scientists who used genetic engineering to reconstruct it. A facsimile of this dinosaur was cloned in the late twentieth century.
On June 24, 2018, a group of six or more Gallimimus were brought to Orick, California and released into the wild. The small surviving Gallimimus flock bred during the ensuing years and migrated east. By early 2022, they had been sighted throughout the American Midwest, including the states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa. A flock of at least seven was sighted on Washington Road in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some of the population boom may have been due to illegal captive breeding, with specimens escaping their owners or being deliberately released once they grew too large. At least some of the Gallimimus moved to the southwestern United States, inhabiting the Sonoran Desert in Arizona according to Jurassic World Evolution 2. In the game, one is killed by a Baryonyx; at the game’s end all of the local Gallimimus still live in the wild. They appear to be nesting, suggesting that they might breed in the Sonoran Desert. A small number can also be seen in the wild of the North Cascades in Washington State, near an abandoned poachers’ camp; it is unknown if the poachers were the ones who brought the Gallimimus there. Another flock is visible in the wild in the Appalachians of Pennsylvania, located near the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Dinosaur Housing and Transport Hub. Yet another is established in Yosemite National Park in California.
Illegal transportation of the animals has brought them to Europe as well. A herd of seven animals was found in Chavenay, France in mid-2022, searching for food on farmland.
South America also has its own populations, though they are monitored more closely. On June 2, 2022, a small family group was reported to the Department of Prehistoric Wildlife from Guárico, Venezuela. They appeared on a cattle ranch, and were reported by the rancher’s nephew. Local authorities had already rounded the animals up by the time of the report and relocation was in progress; DPW experts aided locals in searching for other Gallimimus in the nearby woodland.
Behavior and Ecology
This theropod is diurnal; it does not appear to be active during the night at all and probably seeks sheltered places to sleep. Despite its large eyes, it does not seem to be adapted to dark conditions. It is most commonly seen during the morning hours, appearing to slow down around noon. Many dinosaurs rest during the heat of the day, and are considered cathermal; this is not confirmed in Gallimimus specifically. It has not been seen often in the evening, and remains inactive at night unless disturbed.
Diet and Feeding Behavior
Though it is frequently classified with herbivores, the Gallimimus is an omnivore and eats animals as well as plants. Its anatomy means it is far from a big-game hunter and it rarely kills anything that would put up much struggle. It probably mainly eats insects, worms, and small reptiles for meat. As far as plants are concerned, it prefers soft vegetation such as leaves and fruit rather than tough woody material. It is known to feed on lysine-rich plants such as soybeans, though it is likely an opportunistic feeder and eats whatever it can find in its environment. Some scientists believe that it could be capable of dabbling like ducks to feed on small aquatic invertebrates, or that it might eat the eggs of other animals.
The front part of its neck is flexible, allowing for a good range of mobility so that Gallimimus can reach food sources at both high and low positions. This also helps it reach more areas near itself without having to move as far. It is toothless and must swallow food whole, but it does have lamellae similar to those of modern waterfowl. These resemble teeth, and can be used to help this dinosaur cut pieces of leaves and fruit as well as grip struggling small animal prey. Some paleontologists have also suggested that, like certain waterfowl, the lamellae may be used to dabble in surface-level water and sift out small crustaceans and other invertebrates. However, this would not be enough to sustain an animal this size alone. Some paleontologists have estimated that, depending on its metabolism, a full-sized Gallimimus might need to eat between 0.15 and 7.36 pounds (0.07 and 3.34 kilograms) of food per day.
Fossils of ornithomimids have shown the presence of gastroliths, small stones swallowed by herbivorous animals that cannot chew in order to crush up plants in the digestive tract. While this has not been seen directly, the InGen IntraNet website describes geophagy in Gallimimus as the dinosaur uses its claws to tear up topsoil and expose food sources. While eating what it has uncovered or torn out of the ground, it will also swallow soil and small rocks. The website suggests that this is unintentional, but if Gallimimus do use gastroliths as fossils suggest, it may be swallowing stones on purpose to aid in its digestion. On the mainland, Gallimimus are known to feed on currently existing cropland.
According to the game Jurassic World: Evolution, its favored food is palms, while it also enjoys horsetails and grasses. It cannot digest pawpaws, mosses, or cycads.
Gallimimus is a flocking animal that lives in large groups for survival purposes. Its speed and wariness are its main defenses from predators, but by living in larger groups, each individual animal has a better chance of not being preyed upon. If one Gallimimus spots danger it will flee, and its panic quickly spreads throughout the flock and causes a stampede. Flocks of Gallimimus make coordinated evasive movements and uniform directional changes while stampeding, making their efforts to flee predators an organized rather than chaotic affair.
There does not appear to be any distinct social hierarchy among Gallimimus flocks; rather than a leader or alpha animal present, the whole of the flock acts as a single unit. This is a common trait in smaller theropods, particularly those that are herbivores or omnivores. Many modern flocking birds exhibit similar social structure, as do small nonavian theropods such as Compsognathus. This lack of a leader individual means that the only way to achieve social power within the flock is to be fast and nimble enough to survive: the slow and clumsy are the first to be killed by predators in a brutal form of natural selection.
This is not to say that Gallimimus have no true bonds with one another. While the speediest animals are most likely to survive, the adults will shield juveniles in the middle of the flock during stampedes to protect them. There is also some evidence that different adults can have emotional attachments. During the 1993 incident on Isla Nublar, the Gallimimus flock was chased by the escaped Tyrannosaurus, which set up an ambush and killed one of the animals that stumbled during the attack. Another Gallimimus paused and turned around, watching as the other was killed and eaten. The rest of the flock slowed down but did not stop or turn back. While the behavior was only briefly observed, it appears that Gallimimus can form friendships and become distressed when harm comes to other members of their flocks that they are bonded with.
Gallimimus is also known to be playful. Its favorite game, naturally, is racing. When all is safe in their environment, they will charge across open ground in small groups and display their speed. Showing off in this way not only demonstrates their survival abilities, but also encourages other Gallimimus to better their running strength and speed. This competition leads to frequent exercise which ensures that the flock is collectively better prepared to survive an attack, and gives these dinosaurs a form of stimulation. They have been known to race vehicles in the same manner, and they probably enjoy racing against other species of animal as well.
In the game Jurassic World: Evolution, social groups of Gallimimus include up to eighteen animals, but it can also live a solitary life without issue. While it may not become lonely, this dinosaur definitely does benefit from living in larger flocks and has been seen in the film canon proper forming groups of nearly fifty individuals.
Not much is currently known about Gallimimus reproduction, other than that they lay eggs and mate using cloacae like most dinosaurs. Eggs of medium-sized dinosaurs such as this typically incubate for a period of a few months, and most dinosaur species practice extended parental care. Theropods usually have ovoid eggs, an adaptation to make them easier to keep in one place without rolling about. In prehistory, Gallimimus were feathered and may have been able to brood their eggs, but InGen’s specimens do not have feathers and are probably less capable of brooding.
Younger Gallimimus show distinctly different coloration than the adults, suggesting that color plays a social role. Hatchlings and younger juveniles have simple and plain color, while adolescents have whitish lateral striping. Adults may have vertical stripes and blotches, and tend to have more variable base color than the juveniles as well. The adults will all collectively protect juveniles and adolescents by keeping them toward the middle of the flock during stampedes, making it less likely that predators will prey on them. Infant mortality appears to be high since juveniles are rarely seen in the wild, so keeping those that do survive safe is a high priority.
It is unclear at what age maturity is reached, or when the breeding season is. Mature Gallimimus probably advertise to prospective mates using their coloration as well as physical strength. Racing against one another is a common play behavior in this species, and since this advertises their speed and agility, it would make a suitable courtship behavior. In Gallimimus, being fast means staying alive, and so this is a desirable trait in a mate.
For the most part Gallimimus is a quiet species. Being lower on the food chain and often living in environments with abundant predators, it does not make a lot of noise. It probably communicates mainly with body language, since its long neck and powerful legs can be used to make a number of distinctive movements. For example, tilting the head toward another creature while running is believed to be a challenge to race.
Some vocalizations are known, mostly used while running. When approaching obstacles (or slower animals), Gallimimus will emit shrieks and squawks, which they do not make when they are maintaining course. This means that these noises are probably used to warn the other Gallimimus before making a course correction, which would help avoid collisions during stampedes. Crashing into each other or tripping would be a fatal consequence for this nimble but fragile dinosaur, and so is to be avoided at all costs.
Social vocalizations are heard in Jurassic World: Evolution, consisting of hiccuping or clucking sounds that the animals make to one another in call-and-reply fashion.
As an omnivore with a preference for leaves and fruits, this dinosaur can be helpful to some plants and detrimental to others, and may even help and harm simultaneously. Eating the leaves of plants is a predatory behavior, but when it feeds on fruit, it can spread seeds to new environments. In the long term, Gallimimus can therefore alter the type of plant life in its habitat.
It is relatively small, compared to many other dinosaurs, and so cannot do much damage to larger plants such as trees. Gallimimus has, for example, been seen in redwood environments; it can do little to affect such a large tree when fully grown. Smaller flora, such as ferns and shrubs, may be trampled or torn apart by this dinosaur. Grasses are likely to be seen in its habitat in places where it commonly feeds and roams. It may even tear up plant life inadvertently while feeding on small animals such as insects.
Gallimimus is a common prey item for numerous carnivores. Confirmed predators include Tyrannosaurus, Baryonyx, and Velociraptor; while Velociraptor is speedy and agile enough to fairly easily kill a Gallimimus, the Tyrannosaurus lacks sufficient endurance to chase down these creatures. Instead, it is common for Tyrannosaurus to hunt by ambush, spooking flocks of Gallimimus into moving and then surprising them from a hiding place. It was one of the victims of Scorpios rex in 2016, with one confirmed victim. Other potential predators include Allosaurus, Teratophoneus, Carnotaurus, and Pteranodon; in particular, Pteranodon likely eats juvenile Gallimimus and the fast-moving Carnotaurus could probably run a Gallimimus down. Other carnivores from the same areas include Dimorphodon. The miniature Compsognathus is less of a danger, though their mildly venomous bites could slow down a Gallimimus enough to make it vulnerable to bigger threats. Larger groups of Compsognathus could probably kill a juvenile or a weak adolescent. In North America, mountain lions (Puma concolor) have been known to prey on Gallimimus.
It has few major defenses against predators. Though its legs are strong and could deliver a solid kick, this would require it getting quite close to a predator; instead of fighting, it will flee at high speeds. Predators are more likely to pick off the slower and weaker members of the flock, so the larger the population of Gallimimus, the higher each individual’s chance of survival. A lone Gallimimus might try to intimidate a predator with a screeching or hissing cry, but this is usually not very effective and the animal must resort to fleeing at high speed.
Another way it can remain safer is to live among bigger, tougher prey species. It is often seen in the vicinity of sauropods, such as Mamenchisaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Apatosaurus. These large neighbors are often the first to spot an approaching predator, and are well-defended against all but the very largest of carnivores. They have also been seen in association with Ouranosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, and Stygimoloch, which are territorial and capable of defending themselves, and the bulky hadrosaur Parasaurolophus (which presents a bigger and slower target, more tempting for a hungry predator). Another hadrosaur, Edmontosaurus, has been known to live in habitats shared with Gallimimus. Armored dinosaurs are also good to live alongside for their defensive capabilities; Ankylosaurus, Peloroplites, Stegosaurus, Sinoceratops, and Triceratops are all known from territories that also include Gallimimus. Of all these, Triceratops is probably the riskiest to live near, since it is the most territorial and will harass other dinosaurs to protect its food sources. Juvenile dinosaurs of other species have been starved to death by aggressive Triceratops, and the mild-mannered Gallimimus has the added disadvantage of being a theropod.
It is unknown if this dinosaur eats the eggs of other species, as some paleontologists have suggested; if it does, it often lives alongside plenty of other animals that it could reliably steal from. Its speed would help it here, as it would have to be evasive to avoid being trampled, gored, or bitten by a protective parent.
Gallimimus is also subject to parasites and diseases, like all animals. In the Mesozoic era, it was bitten by mosquitoes, which is how InGen obtained its DNA. While unconfirmed, it is possible that modern mosquitoes bite it today. According to Jurassic World: Evolution, it is particularly susceptible to avian influenza, which is typically caused by the influenza A virus. As a common prey species, Gallimimus would make an ideal intermediate host for parasites and pathogens, especially since any infections that slow it down would be quickly fatal.
Although the best-known member of the ornithomimids, Gallimimus is not an especially famous dinosaur. The general public is likely only aware of it thanks to de-extinction, while before this it was chiefly known to paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts. Its noticeable dearth of protective adaptations makes it a popular animal to depict as prey in artwork depicting ancient life. Paleoartists will often create exciting high-speed chases with ornithomimids such as Gallimimus as the prey, highlighting how quick and agile these birdlike dinosaurs (and their predators) are.
While not often considered the most popular or impressive dinosaur, Gallimimus is still the favorite of a handful of people such as Frederick Bowman.
According to Universal Studios, Gallimimus is the dinosaur of the Sagittarius astrological sign (November 22 – December 21).
It lacks the star power of the bigger dinosaurs, and is not particularly fearsome; its most notable physical feature is its birdlike stance, often likened to an ostrich. This can make Gallimimus useful, in the very least, at educating people on the evolutionary relationships between prehistoric theropods and modern-day birds.
The upside to Gallimimus is that it is one of the least problematic dinosaurs to keep in captivity. It is docile, easily fed, and easily housed; it is kept stimulated simply enough if kept in groups. The only real issue is flightiness, as it has a nervous disposition and will flee if spooked. Still, a Gallimimus escape would only be cause for concern as the dinosaur would be difficult to capture, not because it might attack a person. It loathes combat and will run rather than defend itself, so it is unlikely to cause a person harm on purpose. Accidental trampling is, of course, a possibility, but this dinosaur is nimble and would rather not trip over any obstacle while on the run. Humans caught in Gallimimus stampedes are safer than those caught in, for example, hadrosaur stampedes, as the lightweight Gallimimus will swerve to avoid a person in its path rather than run a person over.
Since it is not a terrible challenge to keep in zoos and parks, it has been a consistent feature of InGen de-extinction attractions since the beginning. In the original Jurassic Park, it would have been visible from both the main tour and Jungle River tour, though that park never opened. This was also a planned attraction for Jurassic Park: San Diego, with two adult Gallimimus being captured by the InGen Harvester expedition in 1997. Again, these plans did not come to fruition. Finally it was successfully put on exhibition for Jurassic World, housed in the central valley of Isla Nublar.
A section of the valley that Gallimimus had traditionally favored as habitat was designated specifically for them, named Gallimimus Valley. Visitors to the park could take the Gallimimus Valley Tour to interact with the dinosaurs, riding in armored vehicles that the Gallimimus would race alongside. This allowed visitors to get an up-close experience with the animals and also provided the Gallimimus with ample stimulation. Younger dinosaurs were kept alongside the herbivorous juveniles in the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo, where park staff would supervise as children interacted with the young animals.
Gallimimus is an excellent example of an ornithomimid, popularly known among laypeople as “ostrich dinosaurs” for their resemblance to modern flightless cursorial birds. Their long legs and necks, slender builds, and birdlike bones all serve to highlight their relation to present-day avians; originally they had feathers covering their bodies, making them appear even more like birds.
This is one of the most common dinosaurs of the Nemegt Formation, and specimens of various growth stages are known; this makes Gallimimus a great source of information regarding theropod ontogeny as well as the ecology of Cretaceous Mongolia. Numerous theories about its diet have been proposed based on its anatomy; with the advent of de-extinction in the 1980s, this species can now be cloned and studied in new ways. It was the first ornithomimid to be brought back from extinction, and likewise the first ornithomimid added to InGen’s genetic library.
It is significant in the history of special effects as the first dinosaur ever rendered using computer imagery. The animations achieved depicting Gallimimus were far more lifelike than the stop-motion effects used before, leading to stop-motion eventually being phased out in favor of more advanced techniques. The hyperrealism now possible with modern animation tools can be attributed in large part to this dinosaur.
This dinosaur was discovered in the 1960s by an international team of female paleontologists, an expedition which was groundbreaking both literally and figuratively. The expedition was a collaboration between Polish and Mongolian paleontologists, establishing a precedent for teamwork in the global scientific community to increase the overall scope of human knowledge.
Although it is a theropod, Gallimimus is often considered exempt from the usual controversies involved with bringing carnivorous animals back from extinction because it does not prey on humans. Many people believe it is herbivorous, although it actually feeds on small animals just as often as plants. Gallimimus has been historically considered one of the safest dinosaurs due to its non-threatening diet and tendency to run away from things that frighten it.
This inoffensive omnivore was abandoned, with the other dinosaurs, after the scandal of 2015 permanently closed Jurassic World. It became a subject of heated political debate when the island’s ecosystem became threatened by volcanic activity in 2017; the Dinosaur Protection Group, headed by former Jurassic World Operations Manager Claire Dearing, frequently used imagery of Gallimimus to promote the Isla Nublar rescue operation. This was one of the first dinosaurs Dearing ever met in person, and therefore held a place close to her heart. It was often depicted in artwork demonstrating the unique artificial ecology at work on Isla Nublar with Gallimimus as an important component of the food chain.
Following the 2018 incident at Lockwood Manor, this is among several species of de-extinct animal which have been released into the wild in North America. Because it is not particularly aggressive and tends to flee when approached, it is not a high priority to control compared to other de-extinct species. Its all-encompassing diet could make it economically significant, especially in regions of the continent where low-growing fruits are important crops.
Gallimimus has proven to be a successful park attraction thanks to its ease of keeping and athletic lifestyle. It is one of the less expensive dinosaurs, easily fed, and if kept in groups will entertain itself. This makes it financially efficient. Though it is not extremely famous, tourists in vehicles can enjoy this dinosaur’s company as it races alongside them. Friendly competition is welcome among Gallimimus as they test their speed, both for fun and to practice their strength, so they willingly run up beside moving vehicles and give visitors a close-up look at their powerful muscles. Drivers must be careful to maintain a predictable course that the dinosaurs can easily navigate around, but other than this there are few risks involved with keeping them in captivity. They are, in short, the ideal park dinosaur.
They are also a good scientific teaching tool for various reasons. While birds have been known to be theropods for many years now, this concept is still alien to many laypeople; seeing the clearly avian physiology of dinosaurs like Gallimimus can help explain the relationship between living theropods and (formerly) extinct ones. One glimpse of this animal’s agility will also dispel the notion that prehistoric dinosaurs were sluggish and slow, reinforcing instead the reality that they were advanced and active warm-blooded creatures.
Having been extinct for seventy million years, Gallimimus‘s biochemistry is different from any modern animal’s and it is believed to be a source of biopharmaceutical products unique to its species. Genetic engineering may have resulted in further differentiating it from other animals, possibly creating biological resources that have never existed before. While its use in the pharmaceutical industry is yet untested, several Gallimimus were captured in 2018 by hunter Ken Wheatley at the orders of Eli Mills, manager of the Lockwood Foundation. There is currently no evidence that any were sold, but they were intended to finance Henry Wu‘s research. Other dinosaur sold for tens of millions of dollars each, and similarly high prices could be expected for a Gallimimus.
This dinosaur is not considered aggressive and is much more likely to flee than fight. If you take one by surprise, it will probably turn and run away from you, rather than hang around to see if you are a threat to it. Caution should still be taken around it, though: you are not the only thing that might startle the Gallimimus. If observing this dinosaur, keep an eye out for any other animals, especially predators which could scare them into stampeding. Keep your distance from the dinosaurs to help them feel safer, and to give yourself more room to get out of the way in case they start running at you.
If you are in the path of a Gallimimus stampede, outrunning them simply is not an option. Instead, take shelter wherever you can find it. Climbing a tree, or hiding within a ditch, vehicle, or building, is a good idea, since this will put you out of the way; if you can get out of the stampede’s path altogether this is even better. If a large upright-standing object, such as a boulder or log, is available, get behind it and let the Gallimimus pass. They are not interested in trampling you, since tripping and falling would make them easy targets for predators. If you remain out of their way until they are gone, no harm will come to you. If there is no shelter around (these dinosaurs are commonly found on grasslands, after all), make yourself as visible as you can. Shout, wave your arms, and jump up and down to make sure they all notice you. In the interest of remaining on both feet, the Gallimimus will weave around you as long as they know you are there, and the more notice you give them the better off everyone will be. Stay on alert once they have all passed by, since whatever frightened them might still be around.
In the unlikely event that a Gallimimus attacks you, defend yourself as you would with an ostrich or cassowary. Protect your face from pecking or clawing, and back away slowly without making sudden movements. Since these dinosaurs do not view humans as prey, it is more likely that an attack would occur because the dinosaur was startled and felt cornered, or had young to protect. Put an object between you and the dinosaur, such as a backpack, or back away to place trees or bushes between yourself and it. The most dangerous parts of this dinosaur are its legs, which are immensely powerful; a kick from this creature would be more lethal than one from a cassowary owing to the size difference, and it probably has a similar potential for disemboweling. However, no Gallimimus have been reported ever attacking a human, let alone kicking one to death. By giving them space enough to feel comfortable, you can help ensure it stays that way.
Behind the Scenes
Despite being only a minor dinosaur, Gallimimus has had an enormous impact on the Jurassic Park franchise. It was not featured in Michael Crichton‘s novel, with a stampede scene of Hadrosaurus or Maiasaura being the original version of Jurassic Park‘s stampede scene. The birdlike Gallimimus was instead chosen for the film, with paleontological consultant Jack Horner suggesting that its avian appearance be highlighted for science communication purposes.
It was the first fully-CGI creature to make an appearance in the films, though it was planned to originally be rendered through stop-motion animation. Computer animation was not entirely trusted at the time, but Industrial Light & Magic was given the green light to try it. Digitally-animated skeletons of Gallimimus were designed, followed by an animation of a Gallimimus flock being chased by a Tyrannosaurus. Director Steven Spielberg was pleased with the results, and stop-motion was phased out of the film in favor of computer-generated imagery. The final scene in the film has been praised not only as some of the best CGI-based animation of its day, but as one of the best-animated sequences in film history. This scene is largely credited with ushering in the modern age of advanced film animation techniques. It has also been praised by paleontologists for its portrayal of dinosaurs as active, birdlike creatures instead of the reptilian beasts they had been pictured as in films before. Even paleontologist Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, who discovered the original Gallimimus holotype skeleton, praised the film’s portrayal of the animal; she referred to it as a “beautiful scene.”
2015’s Jurassic World was planned to have more scenes with Gallimimus, which were apparently supposed to feature in more of the park attractions. These included the Gyrosphere attraction, where tourists in gyrospheres would herd the Gallimimus through the valley. The plan was to have the tourists herd the Gallimimus into the waiting jaws of the Tyrannosaurus, which would make a kill while other tourists watched from the sidelines and the surviving Gallimimus would escape through sluice gates. This attraction was scrapped from the film, probably for its impracticality. The model of Gallimimus was also altered for Jurassic World, with the render on the website showing more prominent lamellae than the in-film models (these were frequently mistaken for teeth by fans, despite the Gallimimus being toothless) and the in-film models lacking shoulder blades. This strange error was corrected in the sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. In Season 3 of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, the Gallimimus mostly resembled their Fallen Kingdom appearance, but were given mouths full of human-like molars; the reason for this choice, which does not appear in any other Gallimimus depiction, is unknown.