The way that chickens’ dinosaur ancestors managed to take care of their eggs without breaking them has always baffled scientists. Now, a team of researchers in Asia and North America is claiming that in order to nest when you weight over 1,500 kg you need to be very careful. The issue of dinosaur parenting has always been difficult to approach. This is mainly because there is a very small number of fossils that have been found. Now, the incubating behavior of oviraptorosaurs might have been finally detailed by this team of experts.
According to scientists, these enormous chicken-like dinosaurs arranged their eggs in a circle, around a central hole in the nest. This arrangement was very convenient because it helped the dinosaurs provide body heat and protection to the eggs, while not crushing them under their weight. It’s worth noting that the oviraptorosaurs lived in the Late Cretaceous period, about 67 million years ago, and were the ancient relatives of modern birds. Experts actually nicknamed one of the species, Anzu wyliei, “the chicken from hell”.
The mystery of how bird-like dinosaurs nested
Darla Zelenitsky from the University of Calgary says that this particular group of dinosaurs are very interesting. They are not as big as one would expect, but the team used them to find out more about the nesting behavior. They weighed only about 100 kg, with a parrot-like head and very rare. The team analyzed the size and shape of about 40 nests, most of them from Mongolia and China.
As for that central hole in the nest, it seemed to get bigger as the dinosaur increased in size. Interestingly enough, this kind of behavior is not present in modern-day birds. Most likely, the smaller oviraptorosaur dinosaurs sat directly on their elongated eggs, while only the bigger ones created this gap. This discovery offers an insight into how dinosaurs evolved, even if at a first glance, it is quite a simple research.
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