Dinosaur nest yields fossil find

Nov. 21, 2011 at 4:05 PM

KINGSTON, R.I., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A nest with the fossilized remains of 15 juvenile dinosaurs from Mongolia shows the young remained in the nest for an extended period, U.S. researchers say.

The bowl-shaped nest measuring 2.3 feet in diameter and containing the remains of Protoceratops andrewsi dinosaurs was found in Tugrikinshire, Mongolia.

"Finding juveniles at a nest is a relatively uncommon occurrence, and I cannot think of another dinosaur specimen that preserves 15 juveniles at its nest in this way," said David Fastovsky, a University of Rhode Island professor of geosciences.

An analysis of the 70-million-year-old fossils found all 15 were about the same size and had achieved the same state of growth and development, suggesting they represent a single clutch from a single mother, a university release said Monday.

They were likely less than a year old when they died, Fastovsky said.

"Death likely occurred during a desert sandstorm," he said. "My guess is that the initial and present-day dryness contributed significantly to the superb preservation, not just of Protoceratops, but of all the fossils from this unit."

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