“Conch Thief” – Conchoraptor

Measuring a little under two metres in length, Conchoraptor is a genus of Oviraptorid dinosaur known from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia.  It may even be another species of Oviraptor and not a separate genus at all, but palaeontologists remain unsure.  However, based on the known fossil evidence this dinosaur lacked a skull crest and the hands were more primitive than Oviraptor philoceratops and Oviraptor mongoliensis.

It had a very bird-like skeleton, with a blunt snout and a very strong beak.  Scientists have suggested that since this dinosaur’s fossils have been associated with lacustrine sediments (strata laid down close to a lake), it may have specialised in catching and eating shelled creatures like snails, bivalves and other molluscs.  The name Conchoraptor means “conch thief” and the formal scientific name including the trivial name is Conchoraptor gracilis.  The names means “graceful conch thief” and it is pronounced “Konk-oh-rap-tor grass-sil-is”.

 An Illustration of Conchoraptor (C. gracilis)

"Conch Thief" feeding by the lake shore.

“Conch Thief” feeding by the lake shore.

In the illustration above, this little dinosaur is catching hermit crabs and using its small but strong beak to crush the shells so that the crustacean can be extracted.

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