OVIRAPTOR

When a nest of Oviraptor eggs were first discovered by Roy Chapman Andrews, a great American palaeontologist, Chapman assumed the Oviraptor was stealing Protoceratops eggs, as a further skeleton of the dinosaur Protoceratops was discovered near the nest site.

Because Oviraptor was a much more agile raptor, meat-eating dinosaur it was assumed it had taken an opportunity to steal Protoceratops eggs, Protoceratops being a herbivore was thought to be the parent of the nest. Hence the naming of the oviraptor as an egg-stealing dinosaur. This forgivable slight of the Oviraptors was subsequently put to rights as more discoveries of Oviraptor skeletons were found brooding over the same ovoid egg nests that Chapman originally discovered in Mongolia in the early 20th century.

Oviraptor was one of the most bird-like of the non-Avian theropod dinosaurs, similarly, a relative of Oviraptor called Nomingia was found with a pygostyle, a set of fused vertebrae that later helped support the tail feathers of birds. The Oviraptors rib cage, in particular, displayed several features that are typical of birds, where each rib kept their rib cages rigid and with two long, well developed hind limbs, each had three clawed fingers that were used to hold, rip and tear their prey. The Oviraptor had large eyes with bony rings and unusual cranial crests along with a toothless beak.


Genus: Oviraptor Dinosaur Nest.
Origin: Xixia Basin Formation, Henan Province, China.
Age: Mesozoic, late Cretaceous, Campanian, 75,000,000 to 66,000,000 years.

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