Researchers Say Dinosaur Parenting Involved Nesting
Early dinosaur mothers cared for their young in nests, according to a recent research article published in the Journal of the National Academy of Science. This discovery was made in South Africa’s Golden Gate Highlands National Park, where numerous clutches of fossil eggs were found. Nesting behavior has previously been recorded in dinosaur parenting, but was known much more recently in the fossil record. This discovery pushes the date of known nesting back by 100 million years; the nests belong to a species of sauropod, of the genus Massospondylus, which lived 190 million years ago. These long-necked dinosaurs reached 20 feet in height, but despite their size, have now been shown to be caring mothers. Evidence of small footprints also shows that newborns remained in the nest for at least as long as it took to grow double their initial size.
Dinosaur Parenting Featured Colony Type Nesting Behavior
The study suggests that dinosaur parenting took place in colonies and that dinosaur parents may have returned to the same place to nest each breeding season. This is believed due to the fact that the ten discovered nests occurred at different levels in the rock and contained as many as 34 eggs in each. The series of nests is a wonderful discovery since it sheds more light on the reproduction of dinosaurs, especially in the early stages of their evolution as well as dinosaur parenting tactics. It shows that the strategy of nesting is much older that previously shown. Dr David Evans, who curates Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, says that little fossil evidence of dinosaur reproductive biology exists, despite the extensive nature of dinosaur fossils in general. This new discovery in dinosaur parenting significantly changes our previous perceptions on the topic.