Hundreds of eggs of ancient flying reptile found in China – Houston Public Media –

Hundreds of eggs of ancient flying reptile found in China – Houston Public Media


Artist's interpretation of a family of pterosaurs, which had enormous wingspans of up to 13 feet and probably ate fish with their large jaws full of teeth.

A hideout of hundreds of eggs discovered in China sheds new light on the development and nesting behavior of prehistoric, winged reptiles called pterosaurs.

Pterosaurs were fearsome-looking creatures that flew during the Lower Cretaceous period along with dinosaurs. It was believed that this particular species had a mbadive span of up to 13 feet, and probably ate fish with its large jaws full of teeth.

Researchers working in the Turpan-Hami basin in northwestern China collected the eggs for 10 years span from 2006 to 2016.

A single block of sandstone contained at least 215 well-preserved eggs that have mostly conserved its way. Sixteen of those eggs have embryonic remnants of the pterosaur species Hamipterus tianshanensis, the researchers said in the findings published today in Science.

Fossils in the area are so abundant that scientists refer to it as "Pterosaur Eden." "Says Shunxing Jiang, a paleontologist at the Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences." You can easily find the bones of the pterosaurs, he says, adding that they believe there are still dozens of eggs hidden inside the sandstone.

Hundreds of pterosaur bones from the Lower Cretaceous period are found on the surface of an excavation site in the Turpan-Hami Basin of China.

Prior to this discovery, only five other well-known pterosaur eggs had been found. preserved in this area and one had been found in Argentina.

The 16 fossilized embryos are in different stages of growth, revealing new information about how the reptiles evolved.None of the embryos are complete, says the article, and the Scientists used CT scans to see what was inside.

The discovery has started the debate about whether the creatures could fly as soon as they hatch. Some previous theories had postulated that they could, but the document suggests the opposite. The research team discovered that the bones of the hind legs of the animal were more developed than the wings at the time of hatching, and none of the embryos were found with teeth.

"Therefore, it was likely that the newborns would move but could not fly, which leads to the hypothesis that Hamipterus could have been less precocious than the flying reptiles advocated in general … and probably needed some parental care, "says the document.

A separate comment in Science calls the study "remarkable," but cautions against drawing firm conclusions about how the animal moved immediately after hatching. The alternative perspective is that the embryos were much younger than the estimated ones and were not close to hatching and that, therefore, the lack of tooth growth is not surprising, "writes D. Charles Deeming of the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom

The large number of eggs found together, according to the researchers, suggest that they belonged to the claws of multiple female pterosaurs and indicate that the animals may have been reared in colonies. [19659003] It is worth noting that the Mbadive discovery does not seem to include a nest. "Jiang says that the eggs had been moved from the place where they were originally placed and that they may have been transported by the water after a series of storms lashed the animals' nests.

Many more mysteries remain about the pterosaurs, Deeming writes, such as if the eggs were buried as they developed and how many eggs they have in each clutch. "Fortunately, additional findings from equally spectacular fossils will help us answer these questions for the pterosaurs and allow us to paint a more and more complete picture of reproduction in these extinct species," he concludes.

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