Parental instincts

Published: Friday 15 March 1996

Even though the discovery of the 80 million-year-old dinosaur fossil in the Gobi desert of Mongolia - by fossil-hunters from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences -shows the animal sitting on its nest of eggs, its original name of Oviraptor or egg seizer remains.

With the hind legs tucked tightly under its body and the forelimbs encircling the nest protectively, the posture seems to depict a cozy scene. The animal might have been guarding its eggs against predators or warming or shading them from the sun. Whatever it might have been doing, this is the first case which brings out the parent in the dinosaur.

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