Ovipraptor in Disney’s Fantasia (1940) which is told as an egg thief.
Nationalgeographic.co.id—Oviraptor, (genus Oviraptor), dinosaur small light-bodied predators or omnivores that incubate their eggs in a similar way to birds. Found as fossils in deposits from the Late Cretaceous Period, which is about 100 million to 65.5 million years ago in eastern Asia and North America.
The oviraptor was about 1.8 meters or 6 feet long and walked on two long, well-developed hind legs. The forelegs are long and slender, with three long clawed fingers that are clearly suited for grasping and tearing.
Since it was first discovered, dinosaur this one has been “slandered” as an egg thief. Even, dinosaur this little one is named Oviraptor which is taken from Latin which means “eggs” and “robber” which when combined becomes an egg robber.
Oviraptor so named, because when it was first discovered with the remains of eggs thought to belong to Protoceratops, dinosaur early horns. That’s what makes dinosaur this little guy was “branded” as a thief to this day and that name stuck.
This assumption is based on a theory that looks at physical form Oviraptor which is indeed suitable as an egg thief. It has a beak that can crack eggs and suck their contents and with three long clawed toes which are also suitable for grasping and tearing.
Studying life ancient creatures it is not something easy, the field of science that studies called paleontology often misinterprets archaeological findings, because our time is hundreds of millions of years apart from the life being studied.
Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History, New York
Oviraptor philoceratops, found in Shabarkh Uso, Mongolia.
In the initial discovery of the Oviraptor fossil, its fossil was found near the nest of petrified dinosaur eggs, a theory emerged that explains that Oviraptor may have been a specialist in stealing dinosaur eggs and babies, as reported by the ranker page.
Scientists think the findings indicate that Oviraptor was caught off guard and killed by the mother guarding the eggs. The theory considers the shape of the Oviraptor’s mouth as a special tool to crack eggs and suck their contents.
Although it is possible and a plausible theory, it turns out that the theory is not true. Oviraptor has long been maligned as an egg thief.
The eggs found along with the Oviraptor fossil have been mistakenly believed to belong to Protoceratops, a small dinosaur related to the much larger and better known triceratops.
Reported britannica, based on microscopic studies of the eggshell showed that the egg did not belong to the ceratopsian, or a group of herbivorous beaked dinosaurs, but it turned out to be an egg belonging to the theropod dinosaur, a carnivorous dinosaur like Ovipraptor itself.
Later, a number of new discoveries actually found the Ovipraptor skeleton actually sitting on top of the egg nest in a brooding position just like a bird. That means, the assumption all along has been wrong, the egg is an egg belonging to Ovipraptor itself, not a stolen egg.
Shundong Bi, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
A 70 million year old Ovipraptor fossil sitting on its egg
Recent finds in 70-year-old rock deposits in Jiangxi Province, southern China prove this. A well-preserved Ovipraptor fossil was found crouched over a nest of 24 eggs. Seven of the eggs even almost hatched and are strong evidence that Ovipraptor incubates eggs that still have embryos in them. The findings were recently published in Science Bulletin, as reported by the Smithsonian Magazine.
“Dinosaurs preserved in their nests are rare, and so are embryonic fossils. This is the first time a non-avian dinosaur has been found, sitting in nests of eggs preserving embryos in one spectacular specimen,” said study co-author Shundong Bi, a paleontologist at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
However, the name Ovipraptor continues to stick, which means egg thief. However, the previous theory had turned out to be quite the opposite. Oviraptor turned out to be a very devoted mother who protected her nest of eggs and chose to stay with her eggs even after they became fossilized.