The oviraptorids were peculiar theropods. Smallish, bipedal animals with strong beaks, they may have fed on mollusks by crushing their shells to get the soft meat inside. For many years, only one oviraptorid, Oviraptor philoceratops, was known. Paleontologists classigied it as an ornithomimid because its skull was toothless. More oviraptorid specimens were discovered i n the 1970s. These have been examined and descriptions were published of two new animals: Oviraptor mongliensis and Conchoraptor gracilis. The name of the latter species means "slender conch-stealer." Most scientists keep the oviraptorids in their own family, seperate from the "ostrich dinosaurs."
Conchoraptor was a smaller animal than its relative Oviraptor. The head of Oviraptor was decorated with bony crests, but Conchoraptor had no decoration. At first, it was thought that Conchoraptor was a juvenile Oviraptor and that the cranial crest developed at the beginning of maturity. Further study of more skeletons—especially the hands—showed that Conchoraptor was a different genus. Its hands seem to be a transitional form, or "missing link," between Oviraptor and the oviraptoidlike small theropod Ingenia. Conchoraptor was found in the Nemegt Formation of Bugeen-Tsav and Kherneen-Tsav, in Mongolia.