May. 17th, 2014

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Any time you see paleoart showing a crested oviraptorid, the chances are it will be labeled Oviraptor - and yet that crested head belongs to an entirely different genus of oviraptorid, named Citipati, as an intact Oviraptor head has never been found. The entire Oviraptorid family is so named because the first one discovered was on a nest, and it was assumed at the time that the dinosaur was literally stealing the eggs, hence its name. Many oviraptorid dinosaurs, including Citipati species, have since been found on nests, and it has become clear that rather than stealing the eggs, they were brooding them, with wings stretched around the perimeter of the nest much like brooding birds today.

Citipati itself is from the late Cretaceous, in what is today the Gobi Desert. It was roughly the same size as today's emus, and certainly superficially resembles another Australian ratite, the Cassowary, with its bony crest and beaked mouth.

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Lauren Helton

September 2014

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