Scientists told how large dinosaurs were able to hatch the eggs

Federico Mansilla
May 16, 2018

Imagine a hummingbird sitting on a tiny nest filled with even teenier eggs.

Since then, many oviraptor eggs have been found, including some with embryos in them, and scientists now think the first oviraptor was a parent of the eggs it was found with.

What baffled scientists was how the dinosaur sat on the nest.

Oviraptorosaurs were a type of feathered carnivorous dinosaurs that roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous - or between 100 million and 66 million years ago, up until the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. According to a report in Live Science, the animals had parrot-like heads, toothless beaks, were way bigger than the largest modern-day birds and weighed up to a whopping 4,000 pounds. Their nests in turn could be anywhere from about a foot wide to a colossal 10 feet.

However, not many theropods built nests, which explains the reason why the brooding exhibited by oviraptorosaurs - a clade of many dozen species which range from the turkey-size Caudipteryx into the 1.4-ton Gigantoraptor - is indeed important.

This ingenious strategy enabled oviraptorosaurs to keep their eggs warm and protect them not only from predators but also from their own crushing weight. But what about bigger nesting dinosaurs?

Describing Clutches of potato-shaped eggs located in China, " he stated the "eggs have been organized in a circular design with a large central opening" and every was around half a meter long and weighed up to seven kilograms.

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Aside from the spoke-like arrangement of this fossilized Eggs, the eggshell itself supplied additional proof that big oviraptorosaurs sat close to their unborn progeny, not at the top of those.

The researchers aren't sure why the oviraptors sit on their eggs.

In the past, it was theorized that the Oviraptorosaurs discovered with these dinosaur eggs had stolen them which gave them the name "egg-thief lizards", but this new information seems to confirm that the dinosaur eggs could have belonged to them after all. In Mongolia, in the Gobi Desert, a team unveiled a dinosaur sitting in a nest.

The dinosaur, known as Citipati osmolskae, was a roughly emu-sized oviraptorosaur. The specimen was perfectly preserved, probably dying under a collapsing dune or in a storm. Larger members of the group arranged their eggs in a ring, researchers wrote in the journal Biology Letters. The dinosaur could have been the mother or the father, and it died with its wing-like arms covering the 12 eggs.

As mentioned above, birds of today evolved in part from the group of dinosaurs that may have incubated eggs in this manner, making it not too far fetched that these ancient organisms might have been able to take care of dinosaur eggs in such a manner despite their incredible size.

"All of this is more evidence of the fact that birds evolved from dinosaurs", says paleontologist and National Geographic grantee Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

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