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Egg shell fragments support belief dinosaur nesting habits evolved
Published Friday, November 27, 2015 3:25PM MST
Last Updated Friday, November 27, 2015 7:09PM MST
A study into dinosaur egg porosity conducted by a researcher at the University of Calgary provides further evidence supporting the link between dinosaurs and birds and the possibility of warm blooded dinosaurs.
The research of Kohei Tanaka indicates nesting patterns evolved alongside the evolution of the dinosaurs.
“We found relatively primitive dinosaurs buried their eggs in the ground for incubation like modern crocodiles while eggs were exposed in the nests of more advanced dinosaurs that were similar to birds,” said Tanaka.
Tanaka says the buried eggs of long necked sauropods and primitive carnivorous dinosaurs were porous to allow for the distribution of oxygen and carbon dioxide while allowing water vapor to escape.
“According to our research, the porosity degree reduced, at least among small meat eating dinosaurs. We can see some change through the evolution of dinosaurs.”
The hard shells of advanced dinosaurs, the predecessors of modern birds, indicate the eggs were incubated in the nest. Warm blooded creatures are the only known animals capable of incubating.
Researchers believe the variances in egg shell porosity are tied to changes in nesting habits and environment that may have been a response to the risk of nest predations.
Tanaka says his research could be viewed as a piece of evidence that supports the idea of warm-blooded dinosaurs and shows similarities between the nesting habits of birds and advanced dinosaurs.
“Brooding birds can nest in many different locations because they can provide heat to the eggs from their body,” said Tanaka. “This is a very innovative method.”
“We’d like to see how styles of nesting changed from reptiles to dinosaurs and finally to birds.”
While dinosaur bone finds are common in many regions, paleontologists have yet to discover egg shell fragments from many of the identified species of dinosaurs.
For Tanaka, his interest in dinosaurs began at a young age and his curiosity continues to grow.
“I’d like to know why dinosaurs were so diverse, why dinosaurs were so successful. I believe reproduction, the method of nesting, is one possible reason.”
On the heels of his porosity research, Tanaka plans to investigate the number of days dinosaur eggs would take to hatch.