Acrylics and inks on cardboard.
New version following instructions by Luis M Chiappe, AMNH.
Oviraptor philoceratops got its name by mistake. The meaning of the name: "Egg robber with a taste for ceratopsians" was a string of accusations by H.F. Osborn from the American Museum of Natural History. in the 1920's he thought that the eggs found in the famous "Flaming Cliffs" from Mongolia were from Protoceratops, the primitive horned dinosaur. For many years it went unnoticed until in recent times a new expedition found an Oviraptor embryo inside an egg assumed to be one of those ceratopsian Protoceratops.
A more dramatic discovery followed: a freeze-frame scene in time of an Oviraptor in the act of protecting its nest, arms embracing at least twenty of its own eggs. This discovery has reivindicated this animal the epitome of the true "good mother" reptile.
Oviraptor was a two to three metres long maniraptoran theropod dinosaur with a weird beaked head sporting a helmet like crest structure just above the nostrils. The helmet was hollow, filled with wafer-thin bone structures that built intricate passages connecting with the nostrils. Mostly toothless, it had only two small, peculiar teeth on the palate, prompting a long debate about the feeding habits of the animal. The current consensus is that it was an omnivore, but most probably it was a meat-eater. The typical maniraptoran hands are heavily clawed and had a folding mechanism similar to Velociraptor. The wrist movement was supported by the semilunate carpal bone (just like birds).
I have depicted hypothetical sexual dimorphism with the males showing their bizarre, brightly coloured crests. I have also added a controversial touch: feathers.
I found that the actual placement of the arms in the fossil was a very tempting feature to add a fan of feathers around them to help covering the nest, and if we consider that the feathered Caudipteryx has been classified as an oviraptorosaur, a true feathered close relative, it seems to make sense... but it makes even more sense when we read that the most recently discovered large species of oviraptor (called Nomingia) has been found sporting an incredibly short tail with the end vertebrae fused in what is called a pygostile. In birds, a pygostile is an anatomical feature to attach a fan of feathers!
To view the previous alternative theory Click Here;
Some other animals from the Ukaa Tolgod formation (Late Cretaceous, Mongolian Gobi desert) are also represented in this painting. A Pinacosaurus ankylosaurian herd is approaching, together with some ubiquitous Protoceratops (better known as "Cretaceous Sheep" by some researchers, due to being the most common fossil remains scattered on the landscape).
Estesia, a varanid lizard is trying to steal some eggs for dinner.