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Scientists Have Discovered a Cache of Pterosaur Eggs

Photo Courtesy of nationalgeographic.com

Photo Courtesy of nationalgeographic.com

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The thought of having flying reptiles roaming around the world is very frightening to many people. Around 66 to 225 million years, this bad dream would have been a reality. Pterosaurs were the largest known flying creatures of all time, but they weren’t classified as dinosaurs. Instead, they would hunt dinosaurs as their food, stated mnn.com. Scientists in China have discovered a Cache of Pterosaur eggs.

As pterosaur fossils are not rare, pterosaur eggs very much are. As a result, there have been many questions regarding the remains of these reptiles and how they developed. Paleontologists have discovered the largest stash of pterosaur eggs ever found in China’s Turpan Hami Basin in Xinjiang. Out of all of these eggs, there are at least 215 of these eggs and 16 of which contain the remains of embryos. Before this discovery, only six of these eggs had ever been found, reported washingtonpost.com.

The species that laid these recently discovered eggs is known as Hamipterus tianshanenis. It lived during early Cretaceous period and its wings stretched about 11 feet long. It also had a thick forehead crest and pointy teeth for preying on fish, stated washingtonpost.com.

Xiaolin Wang, the study lead author and a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stated that aside from breaking records, the more eggs, the better. “When you have a really unique find, you basically can’t do anything to it because that’s all you’ve got, he stated, “but now that we have literally hundreds of eggs to work with, we have more options – such as cutting different eggs into cross-sections to study growth rates,” reported washingtonpost.com.

With this record-breaking discovery, the egg treasure trove also boats skeletons from what appear to be hatchlings, juveniles, and adults. This means that scientists now have more information about how pterosaurs progressed from egg to adult, reported to afr.com.

With a wingspan of approximately 3.3 metres, an adult Hamipterus tianshanenis may have been similar to something like an albatross.That is if albatrosses had large crests running the lengths of their heads and spike-like teeth. However, this species did not appear to have feathers, stated Alexander Kellner, a paleontologist at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, to afr.com.

Dr. Kellner said it was also much more likely that pterosaurs laid their eggs in large nesting colonies near lake and river shores rather than in solitary nest high on cliffsides. He also stated that the large number of eggs they found suggested the pterosaurs returned to the nesting spot numerous times to lay their eggs, reported nytimes.com.

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Scientists Have Discovered a Cache of Pterosaur Eggs