Halszka Osmólska

Halszka Osmólska (September 15, 1930 – March 31, 2008) was a Polish paleontologist who had specialized in Mongolian dinosaurs.[1]

Halszka Osmólska
Halszka Osmólska
BornSeptember 15, 1930
DiedMarch 31, 2008 (aged 77)
Alma materUniversity of Warsaw
Adam Mickiewicz University


Osmólska was born in Poznań.

A member of the Polish–Mongolian expeditions to the Gobi Desert[2] (1963-1965 and 1967-1971) she described many finds from these rocks, often with Teresa Maryańska. Among the dinosaurs she described are:

Her other work included discussions of the paleobiology of hadrosaurids, and co-editing the two editions of The Dinosauria.[3][4] As of 2004, she was affiliated with the Instytut Paleobiologii of the Polska Akademia Nauk.[5]

She is recognized for her work in the names of the Mongolian oviraptorid Citipati osmolskae, the Chinese dromaeosaurid Velociraptor osmolskae, the Mongolian dromaeosaurid Halszkaraptor escuilliei, the archosauriform reptile Osmolskina czatkowicensis, and the Polish Pliocene lagomorph Prolagus osmolskae.[6]

Osmólska was, in recognition of her scientific work, a recipient of a number of awards including the Polish Cross of Merit.[7]

Selected publications

  • H. Osmólska and E. Roniewicz (1970). Deinocheiridae, a new family of theropod dinosaurs. Palaeontologica Polonica 21:5-19.
  • H. Osmólska, E. Roniewicz, and R. Barsbold (1972). A new dinosaur, Gallimimus bullatus n. gen., n. sp. (Ornithomimidae) from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia. Palaeontologia Polonica 27:103-143.
  • H. Osmólska (1972). Preliminary note on a crocodilian from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia. Palaeontologia Polonica 27:43-47.
  • T. Maryańska and H. Osmólska (1974). Pachycephalosauria, a new suborder of ornithischian dinosaurs. Palaeontologia Polonica 30:45-102.
  • T. Maryańska and H. Osmólska (1975). Protoceratopsidae (Dinosauria) of Asia. Palaeontologica Polonica 33:133-181.
  • H. Osmólska (1976). New light on the skull anatomy and systematic position of Oviraptor. Nature 262:683-684.
  • H. Osmólska (1981). Coossified tarsometatarsi in theropod dinosaurs and their bearing on the problem of bird origins. Palaeontologica Polonica 42:79-95.
  • T. Maryańska and H. Osmólska (1981). First lambeosaurine dinosaur from the Nemegt Formation, Upper Cretaceous, Mongolia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 26(3-1):243-255.
  • T. Maryańska and H. Osmólska (1981). Cranial anatomy of Saurolophus angustirostris with comments on the Asian Hadrosauridae (Dinosauria). Palaeontologia Polonica 42:5-24.
  • H. Osmólska (1982). Hulsanpes perlei n.g. n.sp. (Deinonychosauria, Saurischia, Dinosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Barun Goyot Formation of Mongolia. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie Monatshefte 1982(7):440-448.
  • A. Perle, T. Maryańska, and H. Osmólska (1982). Goyocephale lattimorei gen. et sp. n., a new flat-headed pachycephalosaur (Ornithischia, Dinosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 27(1-4):115-127.
  • T. Maryańska and H. Osmólska (1984). Postcranial anatomy of Saurolophus angustirostris with comments on other hadrosaurs. Palaeontologia Polonica 46:119-141.
  • T. Maryańska and H. Osmólska (1985). On ornithischian phylogeny. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 30(3-4):137-149.
  • H. Osmólska (1987). Borogovia gracilicrus gen. et sp. n., a new troodontid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 32(1-2):133-150.
  • R. Barsbold, H. Osmólska, and S.M. Kurzanov (1987). On a new troodontid (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 32(1-2):121-132.
  • S. M. Kurzanov and H. Osmólska (1991). Tochisaurus nemegtensis gen. et sp. n., a new troodontid dinosaur (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from Mongolia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 36(1):69-76.
  • H. Osmólska (1996). An unusual theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Nemegt Formation of Mongolia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 41(1):1-38.
  • R. Barsbold and H. Osmólska (1999). The skull of Velociraptor (Theropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 44(2):189-219.
  • R. Barsbold, H. Osmólska, M. Watabe, P.J. Currie, and K. Tsogtbaatar (2000). A new oviraptorosaur (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from Mongolia: the first dinosaur with a pygostyle. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 45(2):97-106.
  • T. Maryańska, H. Osmólska, and M. Wolsan (2002). Avialan status for Oviraptorosauria. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 47(1):97-116.
  • H. Osmólska, P.J. Currie, and R. Barsbold (2004). Oviraptorosauria. In: D.B. Weishampel, P. Dodson, and H. Osmólska (eds.), The Dinosauria (second edition). University of California Press, Berkeley 165-183.


  1. ^ a b Lambert, David; the Diagram Group (1990). "Dinosaurologists". The Dinosaur Data Book. New York: Avon Books. p. 281. ISBN 0-380-75896-2.
  2. ^ Colbert, Edwin H. (2000). "Asiatic dinosaur rush". In Benton, Michael J.; Shishkin, Mikhail A.; Unwin, David M.; Kurochkin, Evgenii N. (eds.). The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 211–234. ISBN 0-521-55476-4.
  3. ^ Weishampel, David B.; Osmólska, Halszka; Dodson, Peter, eds. (1990). The Dinosauria (1st ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06727-4.
  4. ^ Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; Osmólska, Halszka, eds. (2004). The Dinosauria (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  5. ^ Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; Osmólska, Halszka, eds. (2004). The Dinosauria (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 776. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  6. ^ Fostowicz-Frelik, Ł. 2010. A new species of Pliocene Prolagus (Lagomorpha, Ochotonidae) from Poland is the northernmost record of the genus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30 (2): 609-612.
  7. ^ Moody, R., & Geological Society of London. (2010). Dinosaurs and other extinct saurians: A historical perspective. London: Geological Society.

Further reading

Altangerel Perle

Altangerel Perle (born 1945) is a Mongolian palaeontologist.

He is employed at the National University of Mongolia. He has described species such as Goyocephale lattimorei, Achillobator giganticus and Erlikosaurus andrewsi. He has been honored by Polish palaeontologist Halszka Osmólska, who named the species Hulsanpes perlei after him.


Bagaceratops, meaning "small-horned face" (Mongolian Baga = "small"; Greek ceratops = "horn face"), is a genus of ceratopsian dinosaur that lived in what is now Mongolia around 80 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous. Although emerging late in the reign of the dinosaurs, Bagaceratops had a fairly primitive anatomy and kept the small body size that characterized early ceratopsians.


Bagaraatan (/'ba-ɣa-raa-tan/ meaning 'small' baɣa + 'carnivorous animal, beast of prey' araatan in Mongolian) is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period. Its fossils were found in the Nemegt Formation of Mongolia. Bagaraatan may have been around 3 to 4 metres (9.8 to 13 ft) in length.

The type species, B. ostromi, was described by Osmolska in 1996. The post-cranial (ZPAL MgD-I/108) skeleton has been described as "bird-like", while the skull exhibits features of several different theropod groups.


Barsboldia (meaning "of Barsbold", a well-known Mongolian paleontologist) was a genus of large hadrosaurid dinosaur from the early Maastrichtian Nemegt Formation of Ömnogöv', Mongolia. It is known from a partial vertebral column, partial pelvis, and some ribs.


Borogovia is a troodontid theropod dinosaur genus which lived during the Late Cretaceous Period, in what is now Mongolia.

In 1971, a Polish-Mongolian expedition discovered the remains of a small theropod at the Altan Ula IV site, in the Nemegt Basin of Ömnögovĭ province. In 1982, the find was reported by Halszka Osmólska and considered by her to be a possible specimen of Saurornithoides. Later she concluded that it represented a species new to science.

In 1987, Osmólska named and described the type species Borogovia gracilicrus. The generic name is derived from the fantasy creatures known as 'borogoves' in the Lewis Carroll poem "Jabberwocky", in his Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The specific name is a combination of Latin gracilis, "lightly built", and crus, "shin", in reference to the elegant build of the lower leg.The holotype specimen, ZPAL MgD-I/174, was found in the Nemegt Formation, dating from the early Maastrichtian. It consists of two lower legs of a single individual, including fragments of both tibiotarsi, the undersides of both metatarsi and the second, third and fourth toes of each foot.The tibiotarsi have an estimated length of twenty-eight centimetres. Borogovia is about two meters (6 feet) long, weighing some twenty kilograms (forty-five pounds). The tibiotarsus is very elongated. The third toe is narrow. The second phalanx of the second toe is short. The claw of the second toe is short and relatively flat. Osmólska claimed that the second toe could not be hyperextended, and suggested that it had regained a weight-bearing function, compensating for the weakness of the third toe.Borogovia was assigned by Osmólska to the Troodontidae in 1987.


Elmisaurus is an extinct genus of dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous. It was a theropod belonging to the Oviraptorosauria. Its fossils have been found in Mongolia. It is known from foot and hand bones.


Gobiosuchus ("Gobi [desert] crocodile") was a gobiosuchid crocodyliform described in 1972 by Polish palaeontologist Halszka Osmólska. It hails from the Late Cretaceous (Early Campanian) of Bayn Dzak (Djadokhta Formation), in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia.

Its type species is G. kielanae.


Goyocephale is an extinct genus of pachycephalosaurian ornithischian that lived in Mongolia during the Late Cretaceous about 76 million years ago. It was first described in 1982 by Perle, Teresa Maryańska and Osmólska for a disarticulated skeleton with most of a skull, part of the forelimb and hindlimb, some of the pelvic girdle, and some vertebrae. Perle et al. named the remains Goyocephale lattimorei, from the Mongolian goyo, meaning "decorated", and the Ancient Greek kephale, for head. The species name honours Owen Lattimore.


Graciliceratops (meaning 'graceful horned face') is a small ceratopsian dinosaur originally described by Teresa Maryańska and Halszka Osmólska in 1975 and referred to Microceratops gobiensis. It was later redescribed as a new genus and species by Paul Sereno in 2000. It is known from the Late Cretaceous period and its fossils were found in Mongolia. Only a partial skeleton has been found. The type (and only known) species is Graciliceratops mongoliensis.

Graciliceratops is known from Shireegiin Gashuun Formation in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, north of the Nemegt Basin. The Shireegiin Gashuun locality is thought to be older than the Djadokhta localities that produced Protoceratops, and is probably early Late Cretaceous in age. The relationships of the genus are unclear, however the frill has large fenestrae bounded by very slender struts. This structure is very similar to that of the later Protoceratops.The skull of the animal measures an estimated twenty centimetres, and the whole animal would have been about the size of a cat. However, the arches and bodies of the vertebrae are not fused, which suggests that the animal was not fully grown when it died. The adult may have approached Protoceratops in size, which grew to around two meters.Like other ceratopsians, Graciliceratops would have been an herbivore, using its powerful beak and shearing teeth to process tough plant matter. Little is known about the flora of the ancient Gobi Desert, and so it is unclear what it would have eaten.


Halszkaraptorinae is a basal ("primitive") subfamily of Dromaeosauridae that includes the enigmatic genera Halszkaraptor, Mahakala, and Hulsanpes. A comparison of the fossils of Halszkaraptor with the bones of extant crocodilians and aquatic birds revealed evidence of a semiaquatic lifestyle. The group is named after Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmólska.


Homalocephale (from Greek ωμαλος, homalos, "even", and κεφαλή, kephalē, "head") is a genus of dinosaur belonging to the pachycephalosaurid family, which lived during the late Cretaceous period of what is now Mongolia, 80 million years ago. The genus was described in 1974 by Osmólska & Teresa Maryańska, and consists of a single species, H. calathocercos, though this may be a synonym (and juvenile form) of Prenocephale. Homalocephale was 1.8 metres (6 ft) long and herbivorous.


Hulsanpes is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur from Mongolia that lived during the Late Cretaceous.


Osmolskina is a genus of archosauriform reptile which lived during the Early Triassic in what is now Poland. The type species, Osmolskina czatkowicensis, was described by Magdalena Borsuk−Białynicka and Susan Evans in 2003. The generic name honors the late female Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmólska.Osmolskina closely resembles the well-known genus Euparkeria. The authors of the 2003 paper considered classifying Osmolskina within the family Euparkeriidae, noting the animal's close resemblance to Euparkeria, but concluded that "Euparkeriidae remains monotypic because no other genus can be assigned to it with confidence."


Prenocephale was a small pachycephalosaurid dinosaur genus from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian) of Mongolia and was similar in many ways to its close relative, Homalocephale, which may simply represent Prenocephale juveniles.


Rinchenia is a genus of Mongolian oviraptorid dinosaur from the late Cretaceous Period. The type (and only known) species, Rinchenia mongoliensis, was originally classified as a species within the genus Oviraptor (named Oviraptor mongoliensis by Rinchen Barsbold in 1986), but a re-examination by Barsbold in 1997 found differences significant enough to warrant a separate genus. The name Rinchenia was coined for this new genus by Barsbold in 1997, though he did not describe it in detail, and the name remained a nomen nudum until used by Osmólska et al. in 2004.Rinchenia is known from a single specimen (GI 100/32A) consisting of a complete skull and lower jaw, partial vertebral column, partial forelimbs and shoulder girdle, partial hind limbs and pelvis, and a furcula ("wishbone"). While Rinchenia was about the same size as Oviraptor (about 1.5 meters, or 5 ft long), several features of its skeleton, especially in the skull, show it to be distinct. Its skeleton was more lightly built and less robust than that of Oviraptor, and while the crest of Oviraptor is indistinct because of poor fossil preservation, Rinchenia had a well-preserved, highly developed, dome-like casque which incorporated many bones in the skull that are free of the crest in Oviraptor.

Teresa Maryańska

Teresa Maryańska is a Polish paleontologist who has specialized in Mongolian dinosaurs, particularly pachycephalosaurians and ankylosaurians. Peter Dodson (1998 p. 9) claims that in 1974 Maryanska together with Halszka Osmólska were among the first "women to describe new kinds of dinosaurs". She is considered not only as one of Poland's but also one of the world's leading experts on dinosaurs.A member of the 1964, 1965, 1970, and 1971 Polish–Mongolian expeditions to the Gobi Desert, she has described many finds from these rocks, often with Halszka Osmólska. Among the dinosaurs she has described are:

Saichania and Tarchia (1977)

with Osmólska, Homalocephale, Prenocephale, and Tylocephale (and Pachycephalosauria) (1974), Bagaceratops (1975), and Barsboldia (1981)

and with Osmόlska and Altangerel Perle, Goyocephale (1982).Alan Feduccia notes that Maryanska and her colleagues (Osmólska and Wolsan) produced in 2002 the "most impressive analysis of the oviraptorosaurs".Amongst her many publications are contributions to three chapters of the 2nd edition of the highly respected The Dinosauria: the chapters on the Therizinosauroidea, the Ankylosauria and on the Pachycephalosauria.As of 2004, she was affiliated with the Muzeum Ziemi of the Polska Akademia Nauk. She was assistant director of Muzeum Ziemi.

The Dinosauria

The Dinosauria is an extensive book on dinosaurs, compiled by David B. Weishampel, Peter Dodson, and Halszka Osmólska. It has been published in 2 editions, with the first edition published in 1990, consisting of material from 23 scientists. The second, greatly revised edition, was published in 2004, with material from 43 scientists. Both editions were published by University of California Press.

The book covers a wide range of topics about dinosaurs, including their systematics, anatomy, and history. It has been lauded as "the best scholarly reference work available on dinosaurs" and "an historically unparalleled compendium of information" and by Padian (1991) as a "monumental work" which features the work of 23 dinosaur specialists: "an instant classic".


Tochisaurus (meaning "Ostrich lizard") is a genus of small troodontid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period of Mongolia. The type (and only named) species is Tochisaurus nemegtensis.

In 1948, a Soviet-Mongolian expedition found the remains of a small theropod in the Gobi Desert near Nemegt. In 1987 the find was reported by Sergei Kurzanov and later that year discussed by Halszka Osmólska who suggested it could represent a specimen of the troodontid Borogovia.Later Osmólska understood it was a species new to science. It was formalized by Kurzanov and Osmólska in 1991 as Tochisaurus nemegtensis. The generic name is derived from Mongolian toch', "ostrich", in reference to the fact that the foot, like with that bird, is functionally didactyl, i.e. has only two weight-bearing toes. The specific name refers to the Nemegt.Its holotype fossil, PIN 551-224, was found in a layer of the Nemegt Formation, dating from the early Maastrichtian, about 69 million years old. It consists solely of the (left) metatarsus, the first discovered of an Asian troodontid. The first metatarsal is missing. The top of the fossil shows some damage that was originally somewhat inexpertly restored.Tochisaurus is a bipedal dinosaur. The metatarsus has a length of 242 millimetres, showing it was a relatively large troodontid. The second metatarsal, 222 millimetres long, is very reduced and narrow. The joint surface on top of the metatarsus is sloped forward and downward.Based on the partial fossils, Tochisaurus is thought to have been a member of the Troodontidae.


Tylocephale (meaning "swollen head", from the Greek τυλη meaning 'callus' or 'hard swelling' and κεφαλη meaning 'head') is a genus of pachycephalosaurid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period. It was a herbivorous dinosaur estimated to have been about 1.4 metres (4.6 ft) in length. It had the tallest dome of any known pachycephalosaur.

Tylocephale lived during the Campanian stage, around 75 million years ago. It was discovered in the Khulsan region of Mongolia. The type species is T. gilmorei, described by Teresa Maryańska and Osmólska in 1974.The pachycephalosaurids evolved in Asia and then migrated into North America, thus it is likely that Tylocephale migrated back into Asia. It is closely related to Prenocephale


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