It is easy to get a bird to hatch in its nest. And a dinosaur? Although they are known to have nests, what was found this time around is extraordinary. It is the fossil that was found in a nest made of eggs. A total of 24 of them.
It was an international team of scientists. He made a completely extraordinary discovery. They are the fossilized remains of a dinosaur that supposedly died to protect its offspring.
The fossils were found outside the Chinese city of Ganzhou. They belong to the types of theropod dinosaurs that resemble the birds baptized as Oviraptorosaurus. These reptiles lived on Earth more than 66 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period.
The specimen found in China sat on a nest. At the time of his death, it contained more than two dozen eggs. Interestingly, at least seven eggs preserved skeletal remains or embryos of the Oviraptorosaurus. And this suggests that these dinosaurs incubated their nests in the same way that contemporary birds did.
This is something unique to paleontologists. They had never found the remains of a non-avian dinosaur perched in a nest made of eggs that had preserved embryos. “In the new one, the babies were almost ready to hatch,” explains Matt Lamanna. He is one of the authors of the study. He works at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburg (USA). “This dinosaur was a loving father who died while he was raising his young,” says the researcher.
During the study, Chinese and American paleontologists also performed oxygen isotope analyzes. They concluded that the eggs were incubated at temperatures similar to those of the birds. Paradoxically, not all babies were at the same developmental stage. One hypothesis was that some of the embryos were simply closer to the relative. And that helped them mature faster.
The groundbreaking find also helped shed light on the diets of the species. For the first time, researchers discovered small stones in the dinosaur’s stomach. The authors of the study believe that these are the so-called gastrolites. You are also told Belly stonesthat the animal would have swallowed to improve digestion.
“It is extraordinary to know how much biological information a single finding can contain. We will learn from the fossil that was found in an egg nest for many years to come, ”explains paleontologist Xing Xu. It belongs to the Institute of Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of Vertebrates in Beijing.