Navigation Links
Paleontologist describes large nest of juvenile dinosaurs, first of their genus ever found
Date:11/21/2011

KINGSTON, R.I. November 21, 2011 A nest containing the fossilized remains of 15 juvenile Protoceratops andrewsi dinosaurs from Mongolia has been described by a University of Rhode Island paleontologist, revealing new information about postnatal development and parental care. It is the first nest of this genus ever found and the first indication that Protoceratops juveniles remained in the nest for an extended period.

The findings were reported in the most recent issue of the Journal of Paleontology.

David Fastovsky, URI professor of geosciences, said the bowl-shaped nest measuring 2.3 feet in diameter was found in the Djadochta Formation at Tugrikinshire, Mongolia.

"Finding juveniles at a nest is a relatively uncommon occurrence, and I cannot think of another dinosaur specimen that preserves 15 juveniles at its nest in this way," he said.

The analysis of the 70-million-year-old nest by Fastovsky and his colleagues found that all 15 dinosaurs at least 10 of which are complete specimens were about the same size and had achieved the same state of growth and development, suggesting they represent a single clutch from a single mother. The discovery also indicates that the young dinosaurs remained in the nest through the early stages of postnatal development and were cared for by their parents.

Protoceratops grew to about 6 feet long and may have taken as long as 10 years to reach full size. Those Fastovsky found in the nest were likely less than one year old when they died.

"I suspect that the preserved animals were rapidly buried by the shifting, accumulating sands that must have constituted the bulk of sedimentation in this setting," he said. "Death likely occurred during a desert sandstorm. My guess is that the initial and present-day dryness contributed significantly to the superb preservation, not just of Protoceratops, but of all the fossils from this unit."

Fastovsky calls Protoceratops "a fascinating and unexpected mass of contradictions." It is an herbivore that lived in a sand sea much like the Sahara Desert and likely bestowed significant parental care on a relatively large number of offspring, perhaps because it lived where mortality was quite high.

A wide variety of theropod dinosaurs lived in Mongolia at the time, some of which, including the notorious Velociraptor, probably ate young Protoceratops'.

"Juvenile Protoceratops mortality may have been rather high, not only from predation but from a potentially stressful environment, and large clutches may have been a way of ensuring survival of the animals in that setting," he said. "Nonetheless, if preservation is any indicator of abundance in life, then during the time represented by the Djadochta Formation, Protoceratops were a very common feature of Mongolian Late Cretaceous desert landscapes."


'/>"/>

Contact: Todd McLeish
tmcleish@uri.edu
401-874-7892
University of Rhode Island
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Paleontologists audition modern examples of ancient behavior
2. Montana State University paleontologist receives major award for protecting fossils on federal land
3. Paleontologists find extinction rates higher in open-ocean settings during mass extinctions
4. Field Museum paleontologist leads study on two new dinosaurs from China
5. Paleontologists doubt dinosaur dance floor
6. New model more accurately describes migratory animals extinction risk
7. IEEE-USA/NAS Hollywood Forum describes engineering trends for entertainment industry professionals
8. UCSF report describes new model for neurodegeneration
9. Fossil bird study describes ripple effect of extinction in animal kingdom
10. Ph.D. thesis describes 35 hitherto unknown families of endogenous retroviruses
11. New book describes career opportunities in clinical research and how to qualify for them
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/20/2016)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 20, 2016 ... leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced ... touch controller solution for wearables and small screen ... appliances such as printers. Supporting round and rectangular ... the S1423 offers excellent performance with moisture on ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... , Jan. 11, 2016 Synaptics Incorporated ... interface solutions, today announced that its ClearPad ® ... (TDDI) products won two separate categories in the 8 ... Innovator and Best Technology Breakthrough. The Synaptics ® ... a simplified supply chain, thinner devices, brighter displays and ...
(Date:1/7/2016)... -- Various factors have contributed to the rise ... and biosimilars. Some of these factors include the ... for cost-effective alternatives, growing burden of chronic diseases, ... of their corresponding patented biologic drugs, and are ... efficacy. The global biosimilars market is estimated to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016 Australian-US drug discovery ... announced today the appointment of a new Chairman, Mr ... Carmine , effective immediately. James Garner , ... Executive Director and former Acting CEO, Mr Iain Ross ... Non-Executive Director. --> James Garner , has also ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... 04, 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments will showcase several ... and poster sessions, and present on the analysis of mycotoxins and medical cannabis ... to 10 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. , ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... and MENLO PARK, Calif. , Feb. ... ("DelMar" and the "Company"), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the ... it will present at the 18 th Annual ... 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST in New York, ... president and CEO, will provide an update on the ongoing ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ("Sinovac" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: ... China , today announced that the ... February 4, 2016 a preliminary non-binding proposal letter, dated ... V-Ming ( Shanghai ) Investment Holdings Co., ... Shenzhen ) Fund Management Co., Ltd., Beijing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: