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:5/23/2017)... , May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the ... been officially launched in Genoa, Italy . The first ... and the USA . The technology was developed ... market by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million ... News Release, please click: ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... DALLAS , May 16, 2017   ... for health organizations, and MD EMR Systems ... certified development partner for GE, have established a ... Patient Portal product and the GE Centricity™ products, ... Centricity EMR. These new integrations ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... Janice Kephart , former 9/11 ... Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the following ... March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting the ... be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the reactivation ... applications are suspended by until at least July ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... July 17, 2017 , ... OHAUS Corporation, a leading worldwide ... its new line of Heavy-Duty Orbital Shakers today. , Eight New Models Available, ... laboratory applications. These shakers are ideal for load capacities from 35 to ...
(Date:7/16/2017)... ... July 16, 2017 , ... OHAUS ... announced the launch of its new line of Rocking and Waving Shakers today. ... shaker models (both analog and digital) for laboratory applications in a variety of ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... LGC Maine Standards ... US FDA 510 (k) clearance for use on Siemens Sysmex® CS-2500 System analyzers. ... D-Dimer kit, prepared using the CLSI EP06-A “equal delta” sample preparation, offers five ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... FireflySci Inc. started manufacturing calibration ... seven years and now they are home to a tremendous line of certified ... and resolution testing. , One mega advantage that FireflySci brings to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: