Oviraptor was the first discovered member of its family Oviraptoridae which were known to be Theropods. Fossil remains were recovered in 1923 in Mongolia. It is said that they are closely related to modern birds. 

Key Facts

Oviraptor pronunciationoh-vee-rap-tor
What does Oviraptor mean?The name Oviraptor means ‘egg thief’ or ‘egg seizer’ due to the popular belief that they used to steal eggs from other dinosaurs.
Dinosaur typeTheropod
On the menuOmnivore
Length1.6 m (5.2 ft)
Height0.91 m to 1.5 m
Weight33 kg to 40 kg
Life expectancyThe lifespan of this theropod is still unknown.
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speedBecause of their strong legs and stable feet, they are assumed to run at a speed of 43.5 mph.
When they livedOviraptor used to exist around 75 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.
Where they have been found?Most of their fossil remains were collected in Mongolia and it’s said that they used to live in terrestrial habitats.

When & Where

George Olsen from the American Museum of Natural History discovered the first ever fossil remains of Oviraptor in 1923 in the Gobi Desert, Magnolia. The fossilized skeleton was found on top of a dinosaur egg nest, which made paleontologists assume that it was stealing eggs during its last breath. However, more and more Oviraptor remains were recovered which suggested that Oviraptor parents used to sit on their nests, known as brooding. This made researchers assume that it was actually the Oviraptor egg that was found with it. Their fossils starting from eggs, and embryos to adults are enough evidence to give us details about their growth, development, and reproductive behaviors.

Size & Weight

This bipedal theropod was anywhere between 0.91 m to 1.5 m in height, 1.6 m (5.2 ft) tall and weighed around 33 kg to 40 kg.

Mobility & Diet

Unlike the other theropod dinosaur, this one is said to be an omnivore which means it could eat whatever it wanted rather than munching on the eggs of other ceratopsians. It is believed that they were mainly fed with mollusks and crustaceans that were cracked open using their toothless beak. 

Interesting Points

  • Oviraptor from Coniacian Era to 75 million years ago.
  • They used to live in a terrestrial habitat.
  • Oviraptor are known to have almost bird-like appearance, they had sharp and toothless beaks.
  • It was wrongly accused of egg stealing.
  • It was first described by Osborn and mistakenly classified as an ornithomimid or the bird mimic dinosaur because of the feathers and long legs it had, the same as the modern Ostrich.
  • Surprisingly because this dinosaur ends with the suffix ‘-raptor’, it doesn’t technically mean that it was a true raptor. However, being a non-raptor won’t change the fact that it is still closely related to true raptors.