STATES CHRONICLE – The discovery of a fossilized dinosaur nest in China changed the way scientists thought about these reptiles. This nest contained eggs of a bright blue color, which could indicate a bigger resemblance between dinosaurs and birds than they thought it existed.
The blue color of the eggs struck the scientists
The nest in question was discovered in China, and contained the eggs of an oviraptor called Heyuannia huangi. This dinousaur lived during the Cretaceous period, or 66 million years ago, and highly resembled an ostrich. Scientists noticed the unusual blue color of the eggs, but they thought this was the result of a fossilization process.
However, a more detailed analysis of these eggs revealed this was their actual color. This is an important discovery, since it offers researchers some details on the peculiar dinosaur species. The blue color is a sign of a specific structure of nesting, where fathers spent precious time guarding the eggs.
There are quite a lot of birds who used to lay eggs without pigment. Also, all reptile eggs are white. Therefore, researchers thought it was the same for dinosaurs. However, at a certain point, they discovered birds could lay colored eggs, and identified this trait as a characteristic of modern birds. This is why they didn’t associate it with dinosaurs.
The pigments in the fossilized eggs indicated a higher degree of resemblance with birds
Usually, the fossilization process colors eggs in brown, due to the minerals present in the ground. Therefore, stumbling over blue color eggs in such a nest was highly unusual. There are many birds which lay eggs of such a color, and some of them include the ostrich, emu, or other similar birds which closely resemble Heyuannia huangi.
Modern birds’ eggs acquire such colors due to some pigments, biliverdin and protoporphyrin. However, analysis revealed the fossils contained both pigments, which indicates dinosaurs are actually more similar to birds than we used to think. Researchers developed a study based on this analysis, which has been published in the journal PeerJ.
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