facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Fossil eggs suggest some dinosaurs incubated their eggs like birds do

April 18, 2013 at 5:31 PM   |   Comments

EDMONTON, Alberta, April 18 (UPI) -- A small North American dinosaur incubated its eggs like brooding birds do, strengthening the evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs, scientists say.

A study by researchers at the University of Calgary and Montana State University set out to answer a question long puzzling paleontologists: Did dinosaurs hatch their young from eggs completely buried in nest materials, like crocodiles do, or was it from eggs in open or non-covered nests, like brooding birds do?

The researchers closely examined the shells of fossil eggs from a small, bird-like meat-eating dinosaur called Troodon.

"Based on our calculations, the eggshells of Troodon were very similar to those of brooding birds, which tells us that this dinosaur did not completely bury its eggs in nesting materials like crocodiles do," Calgary geoscience Professor Darla Zelenitsky said.

Troodon was known to lay its eggs almost vertically and would have only buried the egg bottoms in mud, the researcher said.

"Both the eggs and the surrounding sediments indicate only partial burial; thus an adult would have directly contacted the exposed parts of the eggs during incubation," lead study author David Varricchio, a Montana State paleontologist, said.

While the nesting style for Troodon is unusual, he said, "there are similarities with a peculiar nester among birds called the Egyptian Plover that broods its eggs while they're partially buried in sandy substrate of the nest."

Further studies may show of other dinosaur species' eggs were incubated, the researchers said.

"For now, this particular study helps substantiate that some bird-like nesting behaviors evolved in meat-eating dinosaurs prior to the origin of birds," Zelenitsky said. "It also adds to the growing body of evidence that shows a close evolutionary relationship between birds and dinosaurs."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth
2
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
3
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
4
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
5
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback