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SU Sedimentologist helps uncover rare dinosaur nesting site in Central Utah (USA)
Author: Ryan Tucker
Published: 03/04/2018

‚ÄčAn SU Sedimentologist (Dr. Ryan T Tucker @gravelmonkey_76), in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science (Dr. Lindsay Zanno @ExpeditionLive) and North Carolina State University (Dr. Terry "Bucky" Gates @terryagates have uncovered the first oviraptor (dinosaur) eggs ever discovered on the North American continent.  The clutch of eggs was found in an excavated pit that is currently interpreted to be the constructed nesting site.  Clues from the sediments indicate that the nest was shaded by a tree (preserved roots/root traces), situated along a distal river channel, with the nest roughly dating back to 97 Ma.  The nest itself was preserved along a 609.6 meter (2,000 foot) sheer cliff in the San Rafael Swell, situated in Central Utah, which took the aid of a helicopter to air-lift the nearly 635 kilos (1,400-pond) plater jacket (containing the eggs and protective rock) off the cliff to a truck for transport to the North Carolina Museum.  Oviraptor was an Ostrich-like dinosaur with a half-moon shaped cranial crest, toothless beak, long feathers on the arms and long broad tail-feathers as a tail fan, similar to a North American Turkey.  While hundreds of oviraptor eggs and nesting sites have been found across China and Mongolia, with some discoveries dating back to Roy Chapman Andrews famed Mongolian expeditions in 1923, yet only two fragmentary eggs had been recovered prior to this discovery.  The nest itself will undergo preparation at the North Carolina Museum, with scientific publication forthcoming.