Dinosaur Egg Detectives Cracking the Case
Theropod Eggs - Part 4-10
Part 4 - Amy Davidson, New York

Amy Davidson has worked for many years at AMNH under the direction of Paleontologist, Dr. Mark Norell. Her skillful steel needle micro-preparation techniques exposed this incredible embryo discovered by Dr. Norell during an expedition to Mongolia in 1993.  The embryo found in this egg has been identified as an Oviraptor.


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photo published on the cover of Science Magazine Vol. 266 November 4, 1994

The Oviraptor (latin meaning egg seizer) was first described by Henry Fairfield Osborn, director of AMNH during the 1920's. The skull of one of these dinosaurs was found during an expedition to Mongolia crushed and on the top of a nest of what was long believed to be a nest of Protoceratops eggs. Osborn speculated that the skull was crushed by an enraged ceratopsian parent who caught the the unfortunate Oviraptor in the act of stealing eggs.


This fossil prepared by Amy Davidson shows a mother Oviraptor with its legs tucked beneath it shielding its nest from the unfortunate disaster which recorded this moment in time. It's discovery in 1993, by a team of researchers from the American Museum of Natural History, is proof that Oviraptor was not an egg seizer as Osborne assumed but was, in fact, a caring parent defending its nest !

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Courtesy of StoneCompany.com
Oviraptor protecting its clutch.
Ingenia (in-JEE-nee-uh)
Type of Oviraptor
Cast skeleton and eggs in a pose inspired by the discoveries of The 1990's expeditions to the Gobi Desert let by Mark Norrell.

Late Cretaceous Period
80 million years ago
Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Scientists aren't sure if it was heating, cooling or just protecting the eggs. It's an unsolved dinosaur mystery.


Click photo to zoom
Mother Oviraptor protecting her nest.
Mounted by Kenneth Carpenter, Denver, CO
Photo by Geoffrey Wheeler, Boulder, Colorado
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