Fossil Eggs Indicate Shared Nesting Habits Between Dinosaurs And Modern Birds
The University of Calgary researchers have conducted a new study that points to a technique to predict nest types of dinosaurs with the help of "extinct archosaur eggshell porosity measurements", according to HNGN.
It has now given some insight into the evolution of nesting and reproductive habits of archosaurs. This group includes dinosaurs, modern birds as well as crocodilians. Many traits shared between dinosaurs and modern alligators and birds were spotted.
"Nest structures are usually not preserved in the fossil record, making it difficult to determine if dinosaurs buried their eggs during incubation like crocodiles, or if they were incubated in more open nests as in brooding birds," Kohei Tanaka, co-author of the study, explained in a press release. "There are many papers that seek the incubation method of dinosaurs, but our research is one of the most comprehensive studies in that it analyzes large datasets on the eggs of both living and fossil species."
The surviving archosaurs show two kinds of nests. They could be open, or they may be covered. Tanaka's team use intensive statistics with "huge datasets of eggshell porosity and mass for 120 surviving archosaur species and 20 extinct archosaur taxa."
"We were surprised that although previous studies on the eggs of oviraptorids suggested they were buried, our results reveal that their eggs were exposed similar to modern bird nests," said Tanaka. "Our results suggest that the change in nesting style occurred in small meat-eating dinosaurs that are closely related to birds."
The team hopes to learn more about extinct as well as extant species.
"To better understand dinosaur nesting styles, however, future discoveries of fossil eggs will hopefully fill in the gaps in the dinosaur family tree where eggs are currently unknown," he said.