Reconstruction of Caudipteryx zoui, by Matt Martyniuk.

Belongs within: Maniraptora.

The Oviraptorosauria are a group of cursorial theropods known from the Cretaceous of Eurasia and North America. Mostly less than two metres in length, they are characterised by deep, short skulls with the dentition reduced or absent. The ecology of oviraptorosaurs has been subject to much debate; they may have included herbivorous or omnivorous forms.

The majority of oviraptorosaurs belong to a clade Caenagnathoidea, which has been defined as the least inclusive clade including Oviraptor philoceratops and Caenagnathus collinsi. This clade is supported by several synapomorphies, including the presence of two longitudinal ridges and a toothlike ventral process on the palatal shelf of the maxilla, and a jaw joint close to the midline of the skull (Osmólska et al. 2004). Non-caenagnathoid oviraptorosaurs include the early Cretaceous Caudipteryx, the type species of which, C. zoui, is known from fossils in which a fan of feathers is preserved at the end of the tail.

Synapomorphies (from Osmólska et al. 2004): Premaxilla with crenulated ventral margin; parietal at least as long as frontal; ascending process of quadratojugal bordering more than three-quarters of infratemporal fenestra; U-shaped mandibular symphysis present; dentary edentulous; pubic foot with cranial process longer than caudal process.

    |  i. s.: Thecocoelurus Huene 1923 OCB04
    |           `--*T. daviesi (Seeley 1888) OCB04 [=Thecospondylus daviesi OCB04, Coelurus daviesi N02]
    |--+--Protarchaeopteryx Ji & Ji 1997 GC13, P04
    |  |    `--P. robusta Ji & Ji 1997 P04
    |  `--Incisivosaurus Xu, Cheng et al. 2002 XT07, OCB04
    |       `--*I. gauthieri Xu, Cheng et al. 2002 OCB04
    `--+--Similicaudipteryx GC13
       `--+--Avimimus Kurzanov 1981 [Avimimidae] OCB04
          |    `--A. portentosus Kurzanov 1981 OCB04
          `--+--Caudipteryx Ji, Currie et al. 1998 XT07, OCB04 [Caudipterygidae]
             |    |--C. dongi Zhou & Wang 2000 OCB04
             |    `--C. zoui Ji, Currie et al. 1998 OCB04
             |--Microvenator Ostrom 1970 GC13, OCB04
             |    `--M. celer Ostrom 1970 OCB04
             `--Caenagnathoidea [Caenagnathinae, Oviraptoroidea] OCB04
                  |  i. s.: Shixinggia oblita N10
                  |--Caenagnathidae [Elmisauridae] OCB04
                  |    |--Hagryphus giganteus N10
                  |    |--Elmisaurus Osmólska 1981 MOW02, OCB04
                  |    |    `--E. rarus Osmólska 1981 OCB04 [=Chirostenotes rarus P88]
                  |    |--Caenagnathasia Currie, Godfrey & Nessov 1993 OCB04
                  |    |    `--C. martinsoni Currie, Godfrey & Nessov 1993 1994 OCB04
                  |    |--Nomingia Barsbold, Osmólska et al. 2000 OCB04
                  |    |    `--N. gobiensis Barsbold, Osmólska et al. 2000 OCB04
                  |    `--Chirostenotes Gilmore 1924 OCB04 (see below for synonymy)
                  |         |--C. elegans (Parks 1933) OCB04 (see below for synonymy)
                  |         `--C. pergracilis Gilmore 1924 (see below for synonymy) OCB04
                  `--Oviraptoridae XT07
                       |  i. s.: Nemegtomaia barsboldi (Lü et al. 2004) [=Nemegtia barsboldi] N10
                       |--Gigantoraptor Xu, Tan et al. 2007 XT07
                       |    `--*G. erlianensis Xu, Tan et al. 2007 XT07
                       `--+--Oviraptorinae OCB04
                          |    |--Oviraptor Osborn 1924 OCB04
                          |    |    `--O. philoceratops Osborn 1924 OCB04
                          |    |--Rinchenia Barsbold 1997 OCB04
                          |    |    `--R. mongoliensis (Barsbold 1986) [=Oviraptor mongoliensis] OCB04
                          |    `--Citipati Clark, Norell & Barsbold 2001 OCB04
                          |         `--C. osmolskae Clark, Norell & Barsbold 2001 OCB04
                          `--Ingeniinae OCB04
                               |--+--Conchoraptor Barsbold 1986 OCB04
                               |  |    `--C. gracilis Barsbold 1986 OCB04
                               |  `--Khaan Clark, Norell & Barsbold 2001 OCB04
                               |       `--K. mckennai Clark, Norell & Barsbold 2001 OCB04
                               `--+--‘Ingenia’ Barsbold 1981 non Gerlach 1957 OCB04
                                  |    `--I. yanshini Barsbold 1981 OCB04 [=Oviraptor (Ingenia) yanshini P88]
                                  `--Heyuannia Lü 2003 ZZ08, OCB04
                                       `--H. huangi Lü 2003 OCB04

Chirostenotes Gilmore 1924 OCB04 [incl. Caenagnathus Sternberg 1940 OCB04, Macrophalangia Sternberg 1932 N85]

Chirostenotes elegans (Parks 1933) OCB04 [=Ornithomimus elegans OCB04; incl. Caenagnathus sternbergi Cracraft 1971 OCB04, Chirostenotes sternbergi D07]

Chirostenotes pergracilis Gilmore 1924 [incl. Caenagnathus collinsi Sternberg 1940, Macrophalangia canadensis Sternberg 1932] OCB04

*Type species of generic name indicated


[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

[GC13] Godefroit, P., A. Cau, Hu D.-Y., F. Escuillié, Wu W. & G. Dyke. 2013. A Jurassic avialan dinosaur from China resolves the early phylogenetic history of birds. Nature 498: 359–362.

[MOW02] Maryańska, T., H. Osmólska & M. Wolsan. 2002. Avialan status for Oviraptorosauria. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 47 (1): 97–116.

[N02] Naish, D. 2002. The historical taxonomy of the Lower Cretaceous theropods (Dinosauria) Calamospondylus and Aristosuchus from the Isle of Wight. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 113: 153–163.

[N10] Naish, D. 2010. Tetrapod Zoology: Book One. CFZ Press: Bideford (UK).

[N85] Norman, D. 1985 (reprinted 2000). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Salamander Books: London.

[OCB04] Osmólska, H., P. J. Currie & R. Barsbold. 2004. Oviraptorosauria. In: Weishampel, D. B., P. Dodson & H. Osmólska (eds) The Dinosauria 2nd ed. pp. 165–183. University of California Press: Berkeley.

[P04] Padian, K. 2004. Basal Avialae. In: Weishampel, D. B., P. Dodson & H. Osmólska (eds) The Dinosauria 2nd ed. pp. 210–231. University of California Press: Berkeley.

[P88] Paul, G. S. 1988. Predatory Dinosaurs of the World: A Complete Illustrated Guide. Simon & Schuster: New York.

[XT07] Xu, X., Q. Tan, J. Wang, X. Zhao & L. Tan. 2007. A gigantic bird-like dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of China. Nature 447: 844–847.

[ZZ08] Zhang, F., Z. Zhou, X. Xu, X. Wang & C. Sullivan. 2008. A bizarre Jurassic maniraptoran from China with elongate ribbon-like feathers. Nature 455: 1105–1108.

Last updated: 11 July 2018.

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