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045

Oviraptorid skull

OLogy Series
specimen
card
045

Oviraptorid skull

OLogy Series
specimen

This fossilized skull was recently discovered at Ukhaa Tolgod in the Gobi Desert. It is probably from a new kind of dinosaur that hasn't been named yet. Figuring out where a new species fits on the family tree can take months or years. Once the research is complete, paleontologists will write a description of the specimen and give it a name.

My, How You've Grown!
Fossils of young dinosaurs help paleontologists understand what changes took place as the dinosaur grew. Since the hatchling skull doesn't have a head crest, we know that this feature grew as the animal got older. Not all oviraptorid fossils have head crests. Paleontologist Mark Norell explains, "Some oviraptorids had noticeable head crests, others did not. The crests may have helped the different species recognize each other, or may have marked the difference between the sexes."

What sound did this oviraptorid make when it was attracting its mate?

teeka-loo, teeka-loo

wickle-woo, wickle-woo

no one knows

Are you right?

Correct!

Based on fossil evidence alone, paleontologists are unable to know what sound long-extinct animals made.

This oviraptorid's features link it to which modern animal?

squirrels

cats

birds

Are you right?

Correct!

Although this skull has primitive dinosaur features, it had some advanced features that link it to birds.

Some modern birds have head crests like this extinct oviraptorid.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Many living birds, such as the Australian cassowary, have head crests.

By studying fossils of an animal, it is impossible to tell the growth rates of different body parts.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

By comparing young and adult dinosaur fossils, scientists have learned which body parts, such as eyes, grow at a slower rate.

Oviraptorid Skull
(O-va-rap-tor-id)
Locality Found: Mongolia
Age: Cretaceous 80 MYA
Size: 7 inches long
Prepared For: 2000 Museum exhibit Fighting Dinosaurs
Characteristics: This skull is one of the most well preserved oviraptorid specimens ever discovered.

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH.