Dinosaurs: Oviraptor


Oviraptor (Egg Thief)

Oviraptor is a very unique dinosaur with some rather strange features. Instead of teeth it has a beak and something not seen in any other dinosaur, two teeth in the roof of its mouth. The reason it got its name is that when it was first discovered Oviraptor was sitting on a nest of eggs. It was thought it was stealing the eggs of another dinosaur. Years later, it was found that the eggs were its own and that it was trying to protect them from an approaching sandstorm.

Oviraptor has another unusual feature - it has a thin crest of bone on its forehead. This crest seems to have grown and changed throughout its entire life. It may have been used as a form of individual identification or to differentiate gender. Also, different species of the Oviraptor genus had different crests. It is not clear what Oviraptor ate. Since it was probably not eggs, and it had very strong jaws, some think it would have eaten shellfish that it could easily crack open. Others argue that it must have been an herbivore as its skull did not show characteristics for meat eating.

Of particular note is that an as yet undescribed North American Oviraptor was discovered in 1996 in South Dakota. This specimen is very large, almost 20 feet long. A trackway has also been associated with this find.




Oviraptor Size

Pronounced: OVE-ih-RAP-tor

Name Means: "Egg Thief"
Length: 8 feet (2.5 m)
Height: 2 feet (.7 m)
Weight: 70 pounds (30 kilos)
Diet: Carnivore (Meat)
Time: Late Cretaceous - 67 million years ago
Habitat: Semi-Desert
Fossils Found: Asia


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