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Brooding Oviraptor



 Has anyone given consideration to the possibility that the AMNH "brooding
Oviraptor" was neither shading the eggs nor keeping them warm, but in
actuality trying to shield its eggs from the fierce sandstorm that quickly
succeeded in overwhelming both the "parent" and its eggs? (How else could
such a spectacular find be formed?). It would be interesting to know if any
work was done on the orientation of the eolian sands at this particular
site, and whether the animal was facing directly into the wind or turned
completely the opposite direction. Some animals today will face either into
the strong wind or turn around so their rumps face upwind. The Oviraptor may
have originally buried the eggs under a thin sand layer and was sitting
guarding the site when the sandstorm hit. Tyrrell staff that went to the
Gobi Desert in the late 1980's experienced some of these sandstorms and have
told me they experienced much loose blowing sand near the ground surface,
with visibility reduced to virtually nil. An Oviraptor at or near its nest
when the sandstorm struck may have just "hunkered down" in familiar
surroundings, in this case its nest. 

 
 Darren Tanke, Technician I, Dinosaur Research Program, Royal Tyrrell Museum
of Palaeontology, Box 7500, Drumheller, AB, Canada T0J 0Y0. (403) 823-7707;
(403) 823-7131 (fax). Paleo Interests: fossil identification, collection and
preparation, centrosaurine ceratopsians, Upper Cretaceous vertebrate faunas
of North America and East Asia, paleopathology; senior editor on annotated
bibliography of extinct/extant vertebrate dental pathology, osteopathy and
related topics (9,300 entries as of Feb. 7, 1996).