Oviraptor

Oviraptor

Its name comes from Latin and means egg thief, it is a theropod dinosaur and there is only one species. It is believed that he lived 75 million years ago in the Cretaceous in what is now Asia. The first clarification to be made is that the theory that he was feeding on eggs is almost dead, this theory started because his remains were discovered near a nest, which made experts think he was stealing eggs to eat, now it is believed to be his own nest.

The Oviraptor was a dinosaur very similar to birds, only it was about 2 meters long and weighed up to 11 kilograms, so it was incredibly light. It had a rib cage very similar to that of the birds, very rigid; some traces that have been found clearly show that they were covered by a thick layer of feathers and that surely it would have a tail with longer feathers, in addition to the characteristics of their nests can be said to have wings to cover them. It also had a small ridge, not as prominent as that of its relatives but quite visible. It is believed that the Oviraptor may look a bit like the Cassowary, a bird that lives in Australia and New Guinea.

The Oviraptor was found in Mongolia in a formation called Djadochta in 1924 during an expedition of experts from the American Museum of Natural History. These remains were found next to the nest of a Proceratops that had eggs, so it was believed that it was there stealing eggs from the nests, however this theory was gradually discarded. Unfortunately, the bones of the Oviraptor are not as well preserved as one would like, especially the skull, which is why the remains of this dinosaur have been searched tirelessly, in this search the name of Oviraptor has been assigned to many remains only to find later that in fact they were not. The most famous case is that of a very well preserved skull that had a large crest and is now known to be a Cipatli.

As mentioned before, the Oviraptor did not feed on eggs. At first this was believed not only because it was found near a nest, but because the Oviraptor has no teeth, instead it had two sharp spikes in the palate with which it was believed to pierce eggs. Although it is believed that he could simply crush them with the force of his jaws. The most accepted theory is that in reality as the skull is not perfectly preserved it may not be known exactly what its mouth was like and it is believed that it could have a kind of beak like the one that could feed on leaves and that because of this it could have a toothless part, since with the beak it could pull out the leaves quite well.

Which makes him special, gives him his name and started the debate about whether or not he ate eggs is the shape of his mouth. The latest theory is that he was an opportunist who laid his eggs in other people’s nests to be hatched and fed if necessary. Another very interesting feature is the ridge, about which there are also discussions, it is believed that its ridge which was much smaller than what has been described, could be covered with a corneal sheath very similar to that of the cassowary, it is believed that this ridge was used to remove the branches and bushes while walking, although the place where he lived is believed to have been used for courtship and to recognize others of his species.

Being such a peculiar dinosaur, he has been featured in many films, especially with his reputation as an egg thief, although he is always presented with a bigger ridge than the one he actually had. In Dinotopia, however, he is not presented as an egg thief but is given a different name, Ovinutrix, which means “egg keeper”. In fact, he also appears in Disney’s Dinosaur movie, Dinosaur Planet and the video games Dino Satalker and Dinocrisis 2 with the peculiar feature that he could spit poison. Finally he also appeared in the film The Land Before Time.