Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Unhatched eggs

"We found a lot of pterosaur bones which belong to different individuals in the sites, with five eggs," understates paleontologist Xiaolin Wang of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Emerging from a 2005 excavation in the Turpan-Hami Basin south of Xinjiang in northwestern China, after more than 100 million years, are 5 three-dimensionally preserved eggs of a new genus and species (Hamipterus tianshanensis) of these ancient winged reptiles. Scantily represented in the fossil record, only 4 pterosaur eggs have previously been discovered and all of them were flattened. These are described as soft and pliable, with a thin, hard outer shell and a thick, soft inner membrane similar to the eggs of some snakes. Found near the eggs were 40 adult specimens, the gender of which are determined by the differences in the size and shape of their head crests (RECREATION WITH PHOTO INSET ABOVE, MORE PHOTOS HERE). The scientists suggest that the newly uncovered pterosaurs likely perished in a storm during the Early Cretaceous period.


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