Oviraptor Philoceratops was a late cretaceous dinosaur that resided in the Mongolian desert. It was discovered by Roy Chapman Andrews during one of his famous expeditions to the Gobi desert between 1922 and 1928. These expeditions uncovered many fossilized dinosaur eggs, and a multitude of new species. For this reason Andrews is considered one of the greatest paleontologists of all time.
Oviraptor was 1.6 meters long and weighed 22 kilograms. It had a large bone crest on its head and is believed to have possessed a large amount of plumage. The lizard skeleton discovered in its gut suggests its diet was composed of small animals. This was not always the thinking however. Upon its discovery, scientists found the animal collapsed over a nest of eggs. It was assumed that the eggs belonged to another nearby nesting dinosaur of the time, Protoceratops because many of the Proto's nests were found in the area. For this reason Oviraptor was given its name, roughly meaning "Egg Thieving Lover of Ceratopsids," ceratopsids, of course (if you remember Nasutuceratops) being the family including Triceratops and Protoceratops. Oviraptor was soon seen as the most evil creature of the cretaceous. It would creep by night to the nests of its herbivorous neighbors and consume their in-egg children. But all was not as it seemed. About 50 years later, paleontologists studying the find discovered that the eggs the creature sat over did not belong to Protoceratops, they belonged to the Oviraptor itself. This proved that not only was the Oviraptor a loving mother, but also it wasn't eating Protoceratops' eggs.
Does that look like the face of a killer to you?
And that's it for today's installment. I guess I'll do another dinosaur next time, probably Agrosaurus.
Paul, Gregory S. The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2010. Print.