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I recently had a friend buy an "oviraptor egg" at auction. I've never handled fossilized eggs myself but had the feeling this may not be the real deal and was hoping for some input. They were told the egg was Mongolian and had paperwork to accompany it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Edited by AnthroWendy
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Egg or not (and I have my doubts), it is certainly not an oviraptor egg; they are much more slender.

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Welcome to the forum. I agree that this is suspect. It does not appear to have any of the typical features of eggs from the Claimed area. Auspex is also correct in that is is not shaped like an oviraptor egg, more like a typical hadrosaur. Can you get any pictures that are a bit clearer?

Thanks

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I see a rock.... but closer up photos would be good.

sorry for your friend.

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Eggs are sold with matrix (rock) underneath the egg so that is not uncommon. I agree with the others that this is not an oviraptor egg but if it's real it's probably from a dinosaur. The image of the egg is not a good one and it would be good to have photos of several angles and a close up of the contact point between the egg and the rock. Also how large is the egg?

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trilobiteruss

Looks like one of the hadrosaur eggs, but if real it is not cleaned well so hard to see the shell under the matrix coating.

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I've attached better pictures to my original post also it's been clarified to me that this "egg" is Mongolian and not Chinese. Thank you so much for your feedback!

Edited by AnthroWendy
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Being Mongolian may explain why the matrix is so red since they have some very red exposures in their dinosaur sites. The size is correct for a Dino egg. Does the egg carry some weight to it? Most of the eggs we see come from China so if this is real its very interesting. I like that some of the red matrix coloring remains on egg. Tells me that although the egg was not cleaned very well it was encased in the matrix. Fabricated ones would not have that tell tale sign.

Edited by Troodon
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As mentioned, this object is not the correct shape to be an Oviraptor egg. I find the Mongolian source to be also dubious. To my eye it has the appearance of an unprepped Hadrosaur egg of Chinese origin. Even the reddish matrix "base" visually suggests this classification. Is it "real?" I don't know. If it were mine I would proceed to prep it and then decide.

I have successfully employed the "back" edge of a C-shaped dental pick to gently scrape away the whitish mineral deposit on the shell of a Hadrosaur egg. Any non-scratching implement will do. You just want to scrape off the thin layer occluding what we believe to be the shell of this piece. A damp paper towel is useful to get rid of the pulverized matrix, hopefully revealing the unmistakable surface of eggshell. CAUTION: if this is indeed a Hadrosaur egg of Chinese origin, the reddish matrix that supports and fills the interior of the egg may be extremely hydrophillic. If you follow the natural impulse to "wash" the piece during prep to remove powdered matrix - you may end up with a basin full of viscous mud and shell fragments. Good luck, have fun.

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Obviously not oviraptor, but to me it appears to be a heavily calcified hadrosaur egg. Washing will not remove the calicification. Only a good microblaster will clean this properly.

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I went and snapped a picture of a Hadrosaur egg that was prepped as I described above. I looked on my computer for a preprep shot but couldn't easily locate one. Prior to my "working" on it the egg pictured did have a surface appearance very much like your piece. Good luck, have fun.

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Being Mongolian may explain why the matrix is so red since they have some very red exposures in their dinosaur sites. The size is correct for a Dino egg. Does the egg carry some weight to it? Most of the eggs we see come from China so if this is real its very interesting. I like that some of the red matrix coloring remains on egg. Tells me that although the egg was not cleaned very well it was encased in the matrix. Fabricated ones would not have that tell tale sign.

Thank you for your input. The egg has a weight of 6.5 lbs.

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I went and snapped a picture of a Hadrosaur egg that was prepped as I described above. I looked on my computer for a preprep shot but couldn't easily locate one. Prior to my "working" on it the egg pictured did have a surface appearance very much like your piece. Good luck, have fun.

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Thank you for your advice and photo!

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Without examining your egg first hand I still would lean toward it being a real dinosaur egg based on the evidence in hand. Unless your friend is a stickler for detail I would not do anything to the egg but display and enjoy it. I'm reluctant to identify it as to type of dinosaur because unless there is an embryo in it who knows. Most professionals identify eggs as to their eggshell unless found with other material. If you can really identify it from being from Mongolia I can tell you that where the first eggs were found and that area is still a big source reasearch on eggs. I've attached a photo of a nest of eggs from Mongolia you can see the similarity to your specimen.

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AnthroWendy, I glad you enjoyed the photo. Troodon's comment above reminded me that I am perhaps over enthusiastic regarding the joys of prepping. I find it to be my chief fossil interest. I relish the mindless, yet focused, repetitiveness. I find it meditative. I also never cease to feel the rush of; "I'm the first person to ever see this wonderful thing." That's great for me, but to prep out your object in the manner I suggested would require a HUGE commitment of time and well, patience. In addition any prep effort carries a risk of damage. My ham-handedness has wrought unfortunate missteps more than once. So, Troodon's suggestion that the piece is just fine for display, as is, is well made. Without "improvement" it remains an object of beauty and wonder. Have fun and enjoy contemplating the nature of that almost miraculous object.

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