Fossil range: Middle Jurassic - Early Cretaceous

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Infraorder: Disputed, either Tetanurae or Coelurosauria
Superfamily: Disputed, either Allosauroidea or Tyrannosauroidea
Family: Disputed, either Allosauridae or Coeluridae
Subfamily: Ornitholestidae

Paul, 1988


Ornitholestinae is a family of smallish theropods of uncertain relationships. Gregory Paul, who named the family, considers them allosauroids (he even made them a subfamily of the Allosauridae). Others have called Ornitholestes a basal maniraptoran, or basal coelurosaur. It is not even certain if this is a natural group. If they are a proper lineage, then they may well constitute transitional forms between allosaurs and coelurosaurs. But they may equally be simply small allosaurs, only distantly related to the coelurosaurs. All the animals included in this group had similarly-designed skulls, and an unusual difference in teeth size - the teeth in the front of the skull differ from those behind them by being smaller and more conical in shape (usually reptilian - including dinosaurian - teeth are equal in size and shape throughout the entire jaw). It is also possible that they all shared a nasal ridge (this is known with certainty only from Proceratosaurus, but seems present in Ornitholestes as well). This would have been most certainly brightly coloured in life, and served for sexual and intra-specific display.


[hide]*1 Taxonomy

[edit] TaxonomyEdit

[edit] ClassificationEdit

[edit] ControversyEdit

Ever since Gregory Paul named this subfamily/family of dinosaurs controversy has aroused. Proceratosaurus is now believed to be a Proceratosaurid tyrannosaur. Almost all the other members of the group have proven to be coelurosaurian theropods (Except for Piveteausaurus, which is still waiting to have a family).

Note: The Dinosaurs I doubt belong to this subfamily I excluded.

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