an omnivorous oviraptorid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia.
Lord of the funeral pyre
Clark, Norell, Barsbold (2001
As far as awesomely named dinosaurs go Citipati
is right up there with "Demon of the river of death" (Stygimoloch
) and "Short-necked horny goat god" (Brachytrachelopan
"Lord of the funeral pyre" (yes!) was the largest known oviraptorid until the hulking Gigantoraptor
stole its thunder but still ranks as one of the most amazing fossils known to science for a couple of reasons: its discovery in a brooding position atop nests full of eggs—some of which contained fossilized embryos—did much to cement the dinosaur/bird behavioral link and its skull was so amazingly complete and well-preserved it allowed CT scans to expose the internal anatomy of its braincase.
(Osmólska's Lord of the Funeral Pyre)Etymology
The name Citipati
is derived from the Sanskrit words "citi" (funeral pyre) and "pati" (lord).
More specifically, Citipati
is named for two dancing skeletons—the Citipati, notorious cemetary loiterers from Tibetan Buddhist mythology.
The species epithet
(os-MOL-skee), honors Mongolian paleontologist Halszka Osmólska.
The first fossils of Citipati
were discovered in the Djadokhta Formation of Ukhaa Tolgod, Ömnögovi, Mongolia.
(IGM 100/978) is an almost complete skeleton including the skull.
Famous for its "Flaming Cliffs" (known locally as Bayanzag), the Djadokhta Formation lies within Central Asia's Gobi Desert, and in the Late Cretaceous was mostly desert and dunes with the odd oasis and brook for water. Pretty much the same as it is now, actually.
: Late Cretaceous
: 86-71 mya
Est. max. length
: 2.4 meters
Est. max. hip height
: 1.2 meters
Est. max. weight
: 50 Kg
• Clark JM, Norell MA and Barsbold R (2001) "Two new oviraptorids (Theropoda:Oviraptorosauria), upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation, Ukhaa Tolgod, Mongolia". JVP, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 209-213.
• Barsbold R, Maryanska T and Osmólska H (2004) "Oviraptorosauria" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska's "The Dinosauria: Second Edition
• Norell MA, Clark JM, Chiappe LM and Dashzeveg D (1995) "A nesting dinosaur". Letters to Nature, Vol. 378, pp. 774-776.
• Clark JM, Norell MA and Chiappe LM (1999) "An oviraptorid skeleton from the Late Cretaceous of Ukhaa Tolgod, Mongolia, preserved in an avianlike brooding position over an oviraptorid nest
". American Museum Novitates, No. 3265.
• MA Norell, Clark JM, Dashzeveg D, Barsbold R, Chiappe LM, Davidson AR, McKenna MC and Novacek MJ (1994) "A theropod dinosaur embryo, and the affinities of the Flaming Cliffs Dinosaur eggs". Science:
Vol. 266, Issue 5186, pp. 779-782.
• Bever GS and Norell MA (2009) "The perinate skull of Byronosaurus (Troodontidae) with observations on the cranial ontogeny of paravian theropods
". American Museum Novitates, No. 3657
• Clark JM, Norell MA and Rowe T (2002) "Citipati Osmólskae
". (Interactive CT skull @ DigiMorph.org.)
• Paul GS (2002) "Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds
• Moyer AE, Zheng W, Schweitzer MH (2016) "Microscopic and immunohistochemical analyses of the claw of the nesting dinosaur, Citipati osmolskae
". Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 16th November 2016, Volume 283, Issue 1842.
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