Oviraptor (Egg thief)
Oviraptor (Egg thief)
Named By : Henry Fairfield Osborn - 1924
Diet : Carnivore
Size : Estimated 1.6 meters long
Type of Dinosaur : Small Theropod
Type Species : O. philoceratops (type)
Found in : Mongolia - Djadochta Formation
When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 85-75 million years ago
Oviraptor, which means “egg seizer” (or “egg thief”), is a genus oviraptorid dinosaur. It lived in Asia during Late Cretaceous. Roy Chapman Andrews led a paleontological expedition that collected the first remains from the Djadokhta Formation in Mongolia in 1923. Henry Fairfield Osborn named the genus Oviraptor Philoceratops the next year. The genus name refers back to the original thought that egg-stealing was a common behavior. The specific name was chosen to support this view and indicate a preference for ceratopsian eggs. Oviraptor, despite the fact that many specimens have been referred the genus. However, Oviraptor only has one partial skeleton, which is regarded as the “holotype”, as well as about fifteen eggs in a nest and small fragments of a juvenile.
Internet Archive Book Images, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Oviraptor was a small feathered oviraptorid that measured 1.6m (5.2 feet) in length and weighed between 33-40kg (73-88lb). The skull likely had a crest and had a broad lower jaw. The upper and lower jaws had no teeth and developed a horny facial, which was used to feed along the strong morphology of lower jaws. The arms were well-developed, with three fingers and curved claws. Oviraptor, like other oviraptorids had hindlimbs with four-toed feet and the first toe was reduced. Oviraptor’s tail was not long and had a pygostyle, which supported large feathers.
Henry Osborn, the original author of Oviraptor’s descriptions, did not fully understand the initial relationships and assigned them to the Ornithomimidae. Rinchen Barsbold’s re-examinations proved Oviraptor distinct enough to merit a separate family, Oviraptoridae. Oviraptor was initially thought to be an egg-thief and egg-eating dinosaur because of its close association with a dinosaur nest. Numerous oviraptorosaurs have been found in nesting positions, proving that the specimen was not feeding or stealing eggs. Further supporting parental care, it was also reported that remains of a juvenile or nestling were found in conjunction with the holotype specimen.