Feeds

Dinosaurs were super mums, nest find proves

Cold-blooded reptiles showed caring side - bone boffins

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.