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OthnieliaMissDNAJPL

Illustration by MissDNA of JPLegacy

Isla Nublar

Physical CharacteristicsEdit

Length: 4.6 feet

Height: 2 feet

Weight: 22 pounds

Coloration: Adult (both sexes) - a bright blue head with a distinctive orange beak. The body it green with white striping running from the neck to the tip of the tail.

Juvenile (both sexes) - same as adult, albeit lacking the blue head.

DietEdit

Soft low growing plants, roots; leaves and fruits knocked loose by larger herbivores and seeds dropped by the activities of "Microceratops".

Preferred HabitatEdit

Othnielia can be found all over Nublar, occupying a wide range of habitats. Othnielia prefers areas with thick vegetation nearby, which it can use to feel safe and an easy means of escape from its predators.

Social StructureEdit

Moderately-sized, close-knit groups consisting of mated pairs, lead by a dominant male and female. The group shares the common goals of looking out for danger, safety of the nests and chicks and safety of the group as a whole. Othnielia is much more social than Dryosaurus and tends to interact more with others in the group.

DescriptionEdit

Small bipedal herbivore, similar in bodyplan to Sorna’s Dryosaurus. Semi-arboreal. Long, muscular legs are powerful and give the Othnielia great running speed and ability to jump great heights. A stiff tail provides balance for high speed running and leaping, as well as balancing the animal in the trees. Large eyes with acute vision and a sharp beak for stripping plant matter.

Breeding SeasonEdit

Wet season, with two lots of young being produced each season. Throughout the dry season, predators and climate conditions cause a sharp dip in Othnielia populations, but those juveniles which manage to survive are already able to breed by the time the next wet season comes round. As a result, Othnielia populations are boosted with each wet season.

BehaviorsEdit

The Othnielia shares many traits and habits in common with the Dryosaurus on Sorna. Small, fast and agile, this dinosaur is on the bottom of the food chain and is preyed upon by all of Nublar’s predatory dinosaur species, from the tiny Compsognathus to the large Baryonyx. As a result, this little herbivore has very refined senses and is always on the alert for danger. It lives together with other Otnielia which share the lookout duties. Feeding groups in open areas can often be found close to herds of large herbivorous species such as Parasaurolophus and Triceratops, benefiting from the feeling of security these larger animals provide.

During the day, Othnielia spends most of its time feeding on the ground. When the sun sets, the dinosaur leaps up into the trees, settling on branches to sleep. While not an excellent climber like “Microceratops”, Othnielia has grasping toes which allows it to retain a firm hold on its perch and a superb sense of balance even while at rest. Roosting in the trees allows this dinosaur to remain safe from the majority of ground-dwelling carnivores, and local “Microceratops” often provide an early alarm call for when a Herrerasaurus or tree-dwelling predators may be nearby. When pursued in the trees, Othnielia will leap off its perch and fall to the ground, where it will proceed to run at full speed to a safer location. Surprisingly resilient, this dinosaur can escape injuries after falling from moderate heights. Othnielia will also leap up into the trees when pursued on the ground, and if there are no trees nearby it will instinctively flee to the nearest cover of vegetation, zig-zagging and performing elaborate hops and leaps in the hopes of throwing off its pursuer.

Breeding BehaviorsEdit

Being a popular source of food, finding safe places to nest and raise offspring can be problematic for the Othnielia. Unable to nest in the trees like the “Microceratops”, and with nests on the ground presenting all kinds of problems, Othnielia instead lays its eggs in secretive burrows and holes in the ground. Othnielia’s typical breeding habitat is open grassland, but it has also been known to nest around the abandoned ruins of the Visitors Center; using shallow, underground, man-made structures that have easy access to the surface. During the breeding season, groups will usually attempt to return the exact same site of the previous season's nests. If they are unable to use that location they will nest very close by. If another mated pair has taken over a nesting site, conflict will almost always ensue. Both the male and female will attempt to drive away nest usurpers through noisy squabbling, pecking, scratching and kicking. Much like Dryosaurs, these dinosaurs have an incredible rate of reproduction and growth.

If burrows are unavailable and the soil is not too compact, Othnielia may excavate its own, scraping rapidly at the ground with its clawed hands. Both parents will aid in the construction of a burrow, collecting a wide variety of materials to line the nest, some of which are left around the entrance to the burrow. The most common material is dinosaur dung, either collected from Parasaurolophus latrine sites or wherever the Othnielia happens to find it. The dung helps to mask the scent of the eggs and infants from other predators, as well as helping to control the microclimate inside the burrow.

During the event a nest is under threat, the clan will retreat to safety, returning to the nest site when the threat is negated. Nesting females remain very still within their burrows, waiting for the predator to move on, but if discovered she will fight back viciously with loud screeches and bites. Most predators are too big to reach an Othnielia in its burrow, however Compsognathus, Segisaurus and the reaching arms of Baryonyx are still a danger. Othnielia pairs take turns in sitting on the eggs within the burrow while the other brings food and nesting materials. Othnielia frequently measures the nest temperature with its beak, to ensure the eggs remain at the correct temperatures. The nests are colonial, with several nests scattered around a single area. Groups are organized in such way that not all the animals reproduce at once, so only a few pairs produce young for the first half of the wet season. Those pairs that do not have young can help the brooding pairs by providing lookout support and food for the young. By the time the juveniles are leaving their burrows, those few adults who did not breed the first time round will have their turn. The dominant pair usually breeds twice per breeding season, producing the highest number of offspring which are raised communally by the rest of the group.

Juvenile Othnielia can leave the nests soon after hatching, emerging from the burrows and following around the adults (not necessarily their own parents), making squeaking and chittering noises as they beg for food. They learn how to forage by watching the adults, and being far too small to leap up trees they retreat back into the burrows as soon as danger is near. Similarly to Dryosaurus, a healthy adult Othnielia may attempt to lure a predator away from the nest by feigning an injury, encouraging the predator to approach before fleeing at the last minute. Many of the offspring will still fall prey to predators, however the amount of young produced per breeding season helps to maintain the animals’ population numbers throughout the harsh dry season.

ResourcesEdit

Illustration by MissDNA Text from LtL Isla Nublar Field Guide

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