Simultaneously very popular and often misunderstood by how it’s represented, Oviraptor has shown up everywhere and all over. The “egg thief” was actually nothing of the sort, but in fact a caring parent that carefully brooded over their egg filled nests. Unlike its family members from North America, Oviraptor itself was a carnivore, and it’s sharp toothless beak would’ve sheared meat and prey apart as well as being able to crush mollusks and small turtles. It’s scope of predation didn’t reach too high though as it was fairly small at 2 meters (6.3 feet) long and 77 pounds; thus it would’ve been at risk to the large predators of the late Cretaceous Mongolian deserts like Alioramus. It was a contemporary with Velociraptor, and Oviraptor would’ve been a dangerous opponent to the turkey sized raptor when they crossed paths. Oviraptor notably had a light but full feather coat and a small pygostyle, or feather fan, at the end of its tail, along with a forward pointing head crest that would’ve been brightly colored. It’s eye sight was excellent, and it would’ve spent its days carefully scanning the desert dunes for prey, water, and threats to its egg clutch.
- Oviraptor’s specific name philoceratops means “ceratopsian lover.” This is because when it was discovered in 1924 it was thought the eggs it was found with were stolen from a Protoceratops nest. It was identified to be the Oviraptors own nest however; and the reptile mother was actually killed by a Protoceratops while desperately trying to ward it away from trampling it’s nest. The mother’s skull was crushed in the struggle, and the eggs never hatched because she was gone; only to be found 75 million years later.
- Oviraptor had a close relative that was larger and lived a couple million years later called Citipati. Citipati was found in near perfect condition, and because of this it’s been used as an example of how Oviraptor would’ve looked since Oviraptor remains are very fragmentary. Every Oviraptor in movies, games, pictures, books, and more you’ve probably ever seen is actually Citipati!
- Fossil Oviraptor hatchlings have helped scientists greatly understand dinosaur growth as they age. The baby theropods show that their bones remain unfused until maturity to relieve any stresses and properly grow to be strong and hardy as they are older.
- It’s name means “Egg Thief.”
Would you like to see Oviraptor in Jurassic World: Alive?
How do you think it would be in game?
Dinosaurs we would Like #20 - Compsognathus