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Dinosaur species

Oviraptor

OviraptorOviraptorOviraptor was a small, feathered theropod that lived in Mongolia during the Late Cretaceous Period. It had a parrot-shaped head, a short, toothless beak and extremely powerful, crushing jaws. A short, bony crest contained a nasal cavity. Oviraptor had a flexible S-shaped neck, a long tail and slender legs with three-toed feet. Its short, strong arms had three-fingered, grasping hands with curved claws. Its body was covered with feathers, with wings and tail fan, giving it a bird-like appearance.

Oviraptor brooding its eggsOviraptor brooding its eggs
Oviraptor and ProtoceratopsOviraptor and Protoceratops

Egg thief?

Oviraptor means “egg thief”. This refers to the fact that the first fossil was discovered on top a pile of what were at the time (1924) thought to be the eggs of a Protoceratops. Later finds showed that the eggs probably belonged to Oviraptor itself, and that this particular individual was actually brooding its own eggs.


A fossil of Citipati in its brooding positionA fossil of Citipati in its brooding position

Bird-like features

Oviraptor's fossil remains were discovered on top of what were taken to be the eggs of a Protoceratops (rather than, as we now know, its own) in 1924. Its full species name, Oviraptor philoceratops, means “egg thief, lover of ceratopsians”.

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