Conchoraptor gracilis
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Cast mounted in a nesting position
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Oviraptoridae
Genus: Conchoraptor
Barsbold, 1986
Species: C. gracilis
Binomial name
Conchoraptor gracilis
Barsbold, 1986

Conchoraptor (meaning "conch plunderer") is a genus of oviraptorid dinosaur from the late Cretaceous Period of what is now Asia.



Profile of Conchoraptor gracilis
Skull of Conchoraptor from the University of Alberta

Conchoraptor was a small dinosaur, only 1–2 meters (4–6 feet) in length.[1] Unlike many other oviraptorids, Conchoraptor lacked a head crest.[1] Like its relatives, it lacked teeth. Instead of teeth, oviraptorids had powerful beaks, possibly adapted to crushing mollusk shells.[1] The skull of Conchoraptor was heavily pneumatised, with most of the bones hollow.[2] Internal connections between both ears functioned as resonance chambers and improved hearing.[3]


When first discovered in the Red Beds of Hermiin Tsav of the Late Campanian Nemegt Formation by a Polish-Mongolian expedition in 1971,[1] scientists believed that Conchoraptor was a juvenile Oviraptor and that the animal's missing crest would have begun to grow when the animal reaching sexual maturity.[1] Further study of multiple skeletons showed that Conchoraptor belonged in a new genus.[1] The hands of Conchoraptor were a major reason that scientists decided to split it off from Oviraptor.[1] Anatomically the hands seemed to be an evolutionary intermediate between those of "Ingenia" and Oviraptor, making it obvious that this animal was not a member of a known species.[1]

The type species of this new genus, Conchoraptor gracilis, was described and named by Barsbold, in 1986. The generic name is derived from Greek konkhè, "mussel", and Latin raptor, "plunderer".[4] This name reflects Barsbold's hypothesis that oviraptorids, rather than preying primarily upon eggs as had been traditionally thought, may have been specialized to feed on mollusks.[1] The specific name means "gracile" in Latin. The holotype is IGM 100/20, a partial skeleton with skull. Later about two dozen specimens were formally referred to the species.


Conchoraptor was by Barsbold assigned to the Oviraptoridae in 1986. Recent analyses show it was a member of the oviraptorid subfamily Ingeniinae.

See also

Tyrannoskull.jpg Dinosaurs portal

Related animals


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Conchoraptor." In: Dodson, Peter & Britt, Brooks & Carpenter, Kenneth & Forster, Catherine A. & Gillette, David D. & Norell, Mark A. & Olshevsky, George & Parrish, J. Michael & Weishampel, David B. The Age of Dinosaurs. Publications International, LTD. p. 136. ISBN 0-7853-0443-6.
  2. ^ Kundrat, M. 2007, "Avian-like attributes of a virtual brain model of the oviraptorid theropod Conchoraptor gracilis", Naturwissenschaften 94: 499-504
  3. ^ Kundrat M. and Janacek, J., 2007, "Cranial pneumatization and auditory perceptions of the oviraptorid dinosaur Conchoraptor gracilis (Theropoda, Maniraptora) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia", Naturwissenschaften 94:769–778
  4. ^ Rinchen Barsbold, 1986, "Raubdinosaurier Oviraptoren". In: Vorobyeva, E. I. (ed.), Herpetologische Untersuchungen in der Mongolischen Volksrepublik. Akademia Nauk SSSR. pp. 210-223

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