Scientists discovered more than 200 fossilized eggs of pterosaurs in northwest China, a flying reptile that went extinct 66 million years ago, Reuters reported.
The record catch of 215 eggs belongs to a pterosaur species known as Hamipterus tianshanensis which was first discovered in 2005 in the Turpan-Hami Basin on the site of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Scientists said on Thursday. This includes 16 eggs with partial embryonic remnants. The adults of this fish-eating reptile had a crest on the top of an elongated skull, pointed teeth and a wingspan of more than 11 feet.
The large number of eggs, which are extremely rare, suggests that pterosaurs may have nested in colonies, which allowed them to defend their young from predators, the BBC reported.
The discovery would help paleontologists to study how these animals breed, among other things. "The work is a crucial breakthrough in understanding the reproduction of pterosaurs," said Charles Deeming of the University of Lincoln in England.
The discovery was made by pellosaur experts Xiaolin Wang of the Vertebrate Paleontology and Palaeoanthropology Institute in Beijing, and Alexander Kellner of the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, the BBC reported.
Kellner told the news channel that an almost complete skeleton of a neonate showed that newborns may have been able to walk first but not fly. "That implies that some help from parents was needed for the offspring," he said.
Scientists, Kellner added, would try to get a more detailed picture of "the first vertebrates that conquered the air about 225 million years ago and that went extinct, leaving no descendants some 66 million years ago". # 39 ;.