Fun Oviraptor Facts For Kids

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 20, 2022 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Oct 08, 2021
Edited by Christina Harrison
Come join us as we learn about some amazing Oviraptor facts!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

The Oviraptor was a type of Oviraptorid dinosaur which is said to have been living in present-day Asia during the Late Cretaceous era. The very first remains of this dinosaur were discovered in Mongolia, in the Djadokhta formation, in the year 1923.

This evidence that belonged to the Oviraptor was found during a paleontological expedition which was led by Roy Chapman Andrews.

These dinosaurs were said to be close relatives of modern birds. They were said to have existed about 75 million years ago.

The name Oviraptor translates to 'egg seizer' or 'egg thief', related to the popular belief that these specimens stole eggs of other dinosaurs.

To date, an entire skeleton of these feathered specimens has not been discovered yet. The discovery of only partial remains has been made so far. From skeleton remains, it has been found that the dinosaur had a toothless beak, long claws on the hand and its head was mostly equipped with a crest.

Wow, quite interesting facts, aren't they? For more relatable content, check out these Caviramus facts and Yinlong facts for kids.

Oviraptor Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Oviraptor'?

The name Oviraptor is pronounced as 'oh-vee-rap-tor'.

What type of dinosaur was an Oviraptor?

The Oviraptor was a type of Oviraptorid dinosaur. It was not a true raptor even though it has the Greek root word 'raptor' in its name.

In which geological period did the Oviraptor roam the Earth?

The egg thief was said to have existed during the late Cretaceous period, about 85-75 million years ago.

When did the Oviraptor become extinct?

We do not know when these dinosaurs became extinct. They lived 75 million years ago.

Where did an Oviraptor live?

The fossil skeleton which belonged to the Oviraptor was found in present-day Mongolia.

What was an Oviraptor's habitat?

This Theropod dwelled in terrestrial habitats.

Who did an Oviraptor live with?

Unfortunately, we do not know who the Oviraptor dinosaur lived with. Not much information is available to discern if they lived alone or in herds.

How long did an Oviraptor live?

We are not aware of the lifespan of these dinosaurs.

How did they reproduce?

The embryonic relative Citipati specimen was described in the year 1994. Since this description, Oviraptorids were discovered to have brooded and cared for their nests. The holotype of the Oviraptorid was seen to be a sexually mature Oviraptor breeding individual which died while incubating the Oviraptor nest containing eggs.

Another description of the relative Citipati in the year 1995 spoke about an adult nesting specimen resting atop egg clutches. Hindlimbs were crouched symmetrically on either side of the nest, while forelimbs covered the perimeter of the nest in a brooding posture. This brooding posture is discovered now only in modern avian dinosaurs.

Another Oviraptorid specimen was described in the year 1996 by Dong and Currie at the Bayan Mandahu formation. This specimen was found resting atop a nest having about six eggs laid in a circular pattern.

Again, forelimbs were seen covering these Oviraptor eggs, and a partially preserved hindfoot was observed towards the center of the nest. Dong and Currie suggested that this specimen was probably buried during incubation by a violent sandstorm.

With this protective behavior being noticed in most of these skeletons, the concept of Oviraptorids being egg-thieves was ruled out.

The exact position in which fossils were found resembled the brooding behavior of birds over their nests.

Oviraptor Fun Facts

What did an Oviraptor look like?

To date, complete skeletons of this species have not been discovered from fossil findings.

From the first holotype of the type species, Oviraptor philoceratops, it has been observed that it is lacking the posterior region of the Oviraptor skeleton.

It has been said that these dinosaurs were equipped with two well-developed and strong hindlimbs. These hindlimbs ended with three long toes, with the first toe seen to be vestigial.

The Oviraptor also had a comparatively reduced tail, which ended in a pygostyle. The tail also was said to support an entire fan of feathers. Arms are said to have been covered entirely with elongated Oviraptor feathers.

The Oviraptor skull was observed to be deep, which was shortened with large openings. However, the actual skull may have been slightly larger. The holotype skull is seen lacking a crest. This dinosaur was said to have an elongated dentary and maxilla, thus resulting in an extended snout.

The palate of these dinosaurs was noticeably rigid. This palate extended below the dinosaur’s jawline. The Oviraptor may have possessed tooth-like projections on their palate. The lower jaw was a deep bone.

Neural arches of the Oviraptor were X-shaped. Their spines were more pronounced in posterior vertebrae. In the holotype, it has been observed that cervical ribs fused to the Oviraptor’s vertebrae. In the anterior series of its dorsal vertebrae, neural spines were rectangular.

The furcula had a midline keel towards the anterior side of the hypocleidium.

The hand of this dinosaur had three bird-like, skinny fingers. Each finger ended in flattened and then recurved unguals (long claws). There was no reduction in the second or third fingers in comparison to the first one.

The Theropod also has been described to have had a horny, toothless beak. The egg thief is said to have had wide upper and lower jaws.

Henry Fairfield Osborn named the type species of the Oviraptor.

How many bones did an Oviraptor have?

The discovery of an entirely complete skeleton of these feathered specimens has not been made yet. Hence, the total number of bones from the existing Oviraptor fossil collection cannot be determined.

How did they communicate?

We do not have any exact information on how these dinosaurs communicated.

How big was an Oviraptor?

The holotype specimen of the Oviraptor was estimated to have a total body length of about 5.2 ft (1.6 m). The Oviraptor size was almost three times the length of the Archaeoceratops yujingziensis.

How fast could an Oviraptor move?

Due to the presence of strong legs and stable feet, it has been said that the egg thief would have probably run at the speed of an ostrich, reaching speeds of up to 43.5 mph (70 kph).

How much did an Oviraptor weigh?

The weight of the Oviraptor is said to have fallen in the range of 72.7-88.2 lb (33-40 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no names for both male and female Theropods of this genus.

What would you call a baby Oviraptor?

There is no particular name for the baby of an Oviraptor. It may be called a hatchling.

What did they eat?

As explained by Henry Fairfield Osborn in the year 1924, this Theropod was said to be ovivarous, meaning that this species had an entirely egg-based diet. This presumption was made based on the association of the egg thief’s holotype with a nest that was thought to be the home of the Protoceratops.

In the year 1977, Rinchen Barsbold argued that the strength of the horny beak and lower jaws was extremely strong, so strong that it could break shells of ancient mollusks for food. Hence, they may have had a semi-aquatic lifestyle, surviving on a mollusk-based diet.

David K Smith in 1990 suggested that the skull of the egg thief was toothless, with a toothless beak. Hence, they may have been feeding on plant leaves. This claim was rejected in 1995 by Norell, who claimed these Theropods were partially carnivorous, eating meat for food.

The story does not end here. In 2008, Stig Olav K. Jansen brought about similarities of the fossil skull of these Theropods with those of turtles and birds, thus suggesting the species to have an omnivorous lifestyle, eating food items like nuts, eggs, and hard seeds. Lower jaws of these dinosaurs were similar to those of parrots.

Finally, in 2018, Gregory F. Funston claimed that the Oviraptor diet was actually frugivorous, meaning that this dinosaur was eating plant seeds and nuts.

How aggressive were they?

We do not know how aggressive the egg thief was.

Did you know...

While comparing discovered skeletons of this species, it has been deduced that these dinosaurs are actually more closely related to birds than to other dinosaurs which fed on meat. Despite having existed on Earth during the late Cretaceous period, dinosaurs of the type species Oviraptor philoceratops are close relatives of modern-day birds.

You can explore more on the history of this dinosaur and other creatures by visiting the American Museum of Natural History and exploring the fossil collection.

Some dinosaurs discovered in Mongolia include the Achillobator, the Citipati, the Gallimimus, the Protoceratops, the Saurornithoides, and the Velociraptor.

Henry Fairfield Osborn, Sr. was appointed as the president of one of the largest museums, the American Museum of Natural History, for a period of 25 years.

Did Oviraptors steal and eat eggs?

No, Oviraptors did not steal and eat eggs. There is no evidence of this behavior.

Did Oviraptors have teeth?

These dinosaurs were said to have toothless jaws.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Rahonavis interesting facts and Atrociraptor fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printableOviraptor coloring pages.


Second image by PaleoNeolitic.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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