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Re: 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?).

As a matter of fact I have thought about this myself - in fact it seems
self-evident that whatever else the oviraptor was doing before the storm it
must have certainly been reacting to it to some degree at the moment of its
death.  The problem is that I do not see what this proves.  Obviously a find
of this sort is a snapshot in time and gives us no information whatever
about the frequency or duration of adoption of such postures by a nesting
oviraptor, or the reason why it might have done so at times other than at
the time of death.  Any such assumptions are speculations.  However, the
fact is that the animal did not adopt a haphazard posture but one that seems
closely analogous to a bird's brooding posture.  This suggests to me that
the posture was a normal part of the animal's behaviour, not a sudden
unusual response to extraordinary circumstances.  Whether its function was
to shade the eggs, warm them, hide them, guard them from predators, or
protect them from regularly blowing sand seems impossible to say (but the
first two seem the most likely, even if only by an "if it walks like a
duck..." argument).
--
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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