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:1/13/2017)... N.Y. , Jan. 13, 2017 ... technology solutions for the homecare industry, including Electronic ... homecare industry expert, Justin Jugs, as Senior Vice ... more than 15 years of homecare experience to ... in developing strategic plans to align Sandata,s suite ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... PORTLAND, Oregon and PUNE, India , January 12, 2017 ... Technology Market: Opportunities and Forecasts, 2015 - 2022," projects that the global biometric technology ... CAGR of 19.4% from 2016 to 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... Jan. 6, 2017  Privately-held CalciMedica, Inc., announced ... healthy volunteers of a novel calcium release-activated calcium ... pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis, sudden painful ... disorder, but can be very serious.  In severe cases ... where extended hospital stays, time in the ICU ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... operations again at the CHI SCOPE Summit for Clinical Ops Executives (Hyatt Regency ... engaging panel discussions to examine vital clinical research issues such as trial performance ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... ... Thirty-six startup companies in University City and Center City have been awarded ... Development in 2016 as part of the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Tax Credit Program. ... represent the highest number of awards to the largest number of companies in the ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Jan. 18, 2017  Caris Life Sciences, a ... Foundation, the largest private funder of pancreatic cancer ... evaluating the impact of immunotherapy in the treatment ... enrollment services to identify potential trial candidates based ... treating physicians and study investigators. The Lustgarten Foundation ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... LGC Maine ... its VALIDATE® SP2 calibration verification / linearity test kit. VALIDATE® SP2 evaluates Albumin, ... VALIDATE® SP2 kit is prepared using the CLSI recommended “equal delta” method for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: