New light on the skull anatomy and systematic position of Oviraptor


Oviraptor philoceratops Osborn, 1924—a plunderer allegedly fond of ceratopsian eggs—is an Upper Cretaceous vertebrate assigned to the theropod dinosaurs1. The holotype, comprising a compressed skull with mandibles, several cervical vertebrae, fragmentary shoulder girdle and forelimbs, was found in the Djadokhta Formation (? Santonian), Gobi Desert, Mongolia. For many years this was the only specimen known and its poor preservation showed only that Oviraptor was a toothless bipedal animal, with a lightly built skull, unusually short and deep. The lack of teeth and the structure of the manus were the main arguments for assigning it to the family Ornithomimidae1,2.

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    Osborn, H. F., Am. Mus. Novit., 144, 1–12 (1924).

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    Romer, A. S., Osteology of Reptiles (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1956).

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    Kramarenko, N. N., Trudy Sovm. Sov.-Mong. Pal. Exped., 1, 5–18 (1974).

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