Navigation Links
Fossil forensics reveals how wasps populated rotting dinosaur eggs
Date:7/15/2011

Exceptionally preserved fossils of insect cocoons have allowed researchers in Argentina to describe how wasps played an important role in food webs devoted to consuming rotting dinosaur eggs. The research is published today (15th July) in the scientific journal Palaeontology.

The approximately 70 million year old eggs, from gigantic titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs were discovered in 1989 in the Patagonia region of Argentina, well known for yielding fossils of sauropod dinosaur eggs and even embryonic dinosaurs. Only recently it was discovered that one of the broken eggs contained tiny sausage-shaped structures, 2-3cm long and 1cm wide. The structures closely resembled fossilised insect cocoons, and were most similar in size and shape to the cocoons of some species of modern wasp.

There are many records of fossilised dinosaur eggs, and even several records of fossil cocoons, but, as author Dr Jorge Genise of the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales states "this is the first time that these cocoons are found closely associated with an egg". Such a study of organismal behaviour (e.g. burrows, footprints) is known as ichnology.

The results indicate "that wasps probably participated in the food web, mostly composed of scavenging insects, which developed on the rotten egg". The make-up of carrion communities spiders, beetles and other creatures populating rotting organic matter is more familiar to us from the screens of crime scene investigation documentaries.

The numbers and different types of creatures indicate the length of deposition and the time since death. In this particular CSI, it appears that the dinosaur egg was broken by force, and subsequent fractures in the egg shell allowed scavenging creatures to feed upon the contents. At egg sizes of around 20cm, this represents a sizable amount of yolk! Other creatures later appeared to feed not upon the egg contents, but on the initial scavengers themselves. The wasps represent the top of the food web, and could have been feeding on insects or spiders gorging on rotting egg contents.

These scavengers also played an important role in cleaning up nest sites. Palaeontologists believe that some dinosaurs revisited nest sites year after year to lay new clutches of eggs. Carrion communities were essential to removing decaying material in advance of new nesting seasons. This new discovery gives us an insight into the murky world of insect communities that thrived at the feet of gigantic dinosaurs.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Emily Rayfield
publicity@palass.org
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Europe rallies behind nanotechnology to wean world from fossil fuels
2. Researchers uncover worlds oldest fossil impression of a flying insect
3. Caltech geobiologists discover unique magnetic death star fossil
4. Living fossil tree contains genetic imprints of rain forests under climate change
5. Bacterial biofilms as fossil makers
6. Hobbit fossils represent a new species, concludes University of Minnesota anthropologist
7. Dinosaur fossils fit perfectly into the evolutionary tree of life
8. Early whales gave birth on land, fossil find reveals
9. Worlds largest snake discovered in fossilized rainforest
10. Origin of claws seen in 390-million-year-old fossil
11. Famous fossil Lucy scanned at the University of Texas at Austin
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Fossil forensics reveals how wasps populated rotting dinosaur eggs
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016   Acuant ... and verification solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ... solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and ... products that add functional enhancements to existing ... corporations and venues with an automated ID ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... June 15, 2016 Transparency ... titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis ... 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture recognition ... 2015 and is estimated to grow at a ... by 2024.  Increasing application of gesture ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 The ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for ... Embossed Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure ... leader in the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. ... January, however Decatur was selected for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the leading software as a service ... Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both audio and video telemedicine communication ... , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can schedule a face to face ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina ... professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , a ... engineering, was today awarded as one of the ... the world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is ... the real world in the nutrition, health and ... directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... that more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP ... individual circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test ... of HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... therapies targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: