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019

Oviraptor philoceratops

OLogy Series
extinct animal
card
019

Oviraptor philoceratops

OLogy Series
extinct animal

Oviraptor was a bizarre-looking, toothless dinosaur. Because it had no teeth, there is a lot of debate about what it ate. It lived 80 million years ago in Mongolia alongside dinosaurs like Protoceratops and Velociraptor.

Who Are You Calling an Egg Thief?
In the 1920s in the Gobi Desert, paleontologists discovered many fossilized eggs that they thought were from Protoceratops. So, when they found the first-known Oviraptor lying on a nest, these scientists guessed it was robbing the eggs of a Protoceratops. They imagined that this Oviraptor was killed by a sandstorm while trying to steal the eggs. Oviraptor philoceratops means "egg robber that loves ceratopians." In 1993, paleontologists then found a fossil egg that matched the "stolen" eggs from the 1920s. It contained a tiny oviraptorid. Now they know the first Oviraptor wasn't stealing Protoceratops eggs. Instead, it was protecting its own!

What type of food do paleontologists think Oviraptor ate?

thick, tough plants

dinosaur eggs

we don't know

Are you right?

Correct!

We don't know. Since Oviraptor is toothless, it's hard to tell.

Mark Norell
paleontologist

You could just look at it, and it jumps out at you as an animal sitting on a nest.

Oviraptor used its three-fingered hands to help it eat.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Scientists believe that Oviraptor's grasping arms with clawed fingers were used to help it eat. No forks then!

Scientific Name: Oviraptor philoceratops
"egg robber that loves ceratopians"
Pronunciation: OH-vih-rap-ter FYE-loh-SER-uh-tops
Locality Found: Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Age: Late Cretaceous, 80 million years ago
Size: 1.8 meters (6 feet) long
Characteristics: small heads with rounded nasal crest and toothless beak; its diet may have consisted of eggs, meat, mollusks, and plants

Image credits: Rick Spears; Mark Norell: courtesy of Discovery Channel Online.