Mystery of the Dinosaur Egg Thief Solved

Scientists Discover that Oviraptor Is Innocent

by Fabian Perez, age 13

     Scientists used to believe that millions of years ago, dinosaurs that were not as big as the T-rex, would have to protect their eggs or else the Oviraptor would have eaten them. This dinosaur was believed to eat every egg it found in its way. Then, one day, a paleontologist discovered the truth.
     For more than 70 years, a two legged, 6-foot-tall dinosaur called Oviraptor had the reputation of being a dinosaur egg eater. Scientists believed that this dinosaur gulped down the baby dinosaurs, leaving behind only the broken eggshells. The famous paleontologist, Roy Chapman Andrews, and his team discovered the Oviraptor almost 100 years ago.
     In 1920, Andrews and his team headed to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert where they found lots of fossils of a Triceratops-like dinosaur, which they named Protoceratops andrewsi. These dinosaurs, which are smaller than Triceratops, seemed to be guarding a nest of eggs, the first known fossilized dinosaur eggs.
     The scientists also found another fossil, which appeared to be eating meat by the nest. This fossil’s skull was crushed. Andrews assumed that this particular dinosaur was eating the Protoceratops eggs before it died. His team named this dinosaur Oviraptor philoceratops, which means, “egg thief with love for ceratops eggs.”
     Time passed and people understood the Oviraptor to be a baby egg eater, until a group of paleontologists, led by Mark Norell, discovered the truth.
     In 1995, they found hundreds of 8-inch-long eggs in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, just like the eggs Andrews and his team discovered back in the 1920’s. They found an egg that proved the Oviraptor’s innocence. That egg had inside of it a fossil of a baby Oviraptor.
     More than 70 years later, Mark Norell and his team proved Andrews and his colleagues wrong. What Andrews had seen was an Oviraptor’s nest, not a Protoceratop’s nest. The Oviraptor’s reputation had been cleared. It turned out to not be a baby egg eater at all.

[Sources: Dinosaurs; Discover]

I found this article extremely interesting. Great work Fabian! – UW GradMiddleton (2013-07-05 10:50)