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Oviraptor

Head of an OviraptorOviraptor 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 eggs. Almost all illustrations of Oviraptor, including this one, have actually been based on...Read More >>Oviraptor brooding its eggs. Almost all illustrations of Oviraptor, including this one, have actually been based on reconstructions of another, closely-related dinosaur called Citipati. Citipati is known to have had a prominent, tall crest. It is probable that Oviraptor also had a crest, but its size and shape are unknown because the skull in the only fossil found is crushed.
An illustration of what was once thought to be the incident that gave Oviraptor its name. An (unfeathered) Oviraptor, the "egg...Read More >>An illustration of what was once thought to be the incident that gave Oviraptor its name. An (unfeathered) Oviraptor, the "egg thief", is about to challenge a Protoceratops for its eggs.

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.

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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