Feeds

Dinosaurs were super mums, nest find proves

Cold-blooded reptiles showed caring side - bone boffins

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

They may have been cold-blooded, but it turns out dinosaurs were caring parents – arranging their eggs neatly and letting their scaly offspring stay in the nest until they had at least doubled in size.

Fossil-bothering boffins poking around in a 190-million-year-old nest in South Africa have published a new study into the the reproductive and nesting behaviour of early dinos.

Ten nests containing up to 34 small round eggs each, approx 6-7cm (between 2 and 3 inches) in diameter have been discovered in the excavation of an area of sedimentary rock. Small footprints visible around the nests indicate that baby dinos stuck around for a while after hatching - until they had at least doubled in size, says study co-author paleontologist Robert Reisz of the University of Toronto .

And the tight clustering of the eggs indicates that the mother carefully organised them – a sign of maternal affection according to the study authors.

Other clues from the fossils suggest that dinos returned to the same sites to lay their eggs – indicating nesting fidelity, and that they likely assembled in groups to lay their eggs, indicating colonial nesting, a sort of prehistoric pre-natal group – the oldest known evidence of such behaviour in the fossil record.

"This amazing series of 190-million-year-old nests gives us the first detailed look at dinosaur reproduction early in their evolutionary history, and documents the antiquity of nesting strategies that are only known much later in the dinosaur record," says the survey's other lead author David Evans of the Royal Ontario Museum.

The dinosaur studied was the 6m-long (19ft 8in) Massospondylus, an early dinosaur and ancestor of the huge sauropods.

Some of the fossil findings are on display in the Royal Ontario Museum's Dinosaurs Eggs and Babies Exhibition: Remarkable Fossils from South Africa. The study will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?