Palaeo Vertebrata - Articles

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Vol 40-3
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Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
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The Late Cretaceous nesting site of Auca Mahuevo (Patagonia, Argentina): eggs, nests, and embryos of titanosaurian sauropods.
Luis M. Chiappe, Rodolpho. . Coria, Frankie D. Jackson and Lowell Dingus
Keywords: Argentina; Eggs; embryos; Late Cretaceous; nests; Patagonia; titanosaurian sauropods

    The late Cretaceous Auca Mahuevo nesting site (Neuquén Province, Argentina) has produced a large number of sauropod eggs, many of them containing the remains of embryos. Research at this site has generated important information about the development of the embryos, the morphology and eggshell microstructure of the eggs, and the reproductive behavior of sauropod dinosaurs. Cranial features present in the embryos have allowed their identification as those of titanosaurian sauropods. Differences in the texture of the sediments that contain some of the egg-clutches have illuminated their nest architecture. Microstructural studies of eggshells have expanded our knowledge of their variability and the incidence of pathologies within a reproductive titanosaurian population. Maps showing the spatial distribution of eggs and clutches. the stratigraphic distribution of the egg-beds, and the sedimentological context in which they are contained, have provided the basis for several inferences about the nesting behavior of these dinosaurs. 

  Article infos

Published in Vol. 32, Fasc. 2-4 (2003)

Origins of avian reproduction: answers and questionsfrom dinosaurs.
David J. Varricchio and Frankie D. Jackson
Keywords: Avian reproduction; clutch; dinosaurs; egg size; nests; oviducts; parental care

    The reproductive biology of living birds differs dramatically from that of other extant vertebrates. Distinctive features common to most birds include a single ovary and oviduct, production of one egg at daily or greater intervals, incubation by brooding and extensive parental care. The prevalence of male parental care is most exceptional among living amniotes. A variety of hypotheses exist to explain the origin of avian reproduction. Central to these models are proposed transitions from a condition of no care to maternal, paternal or biparental care systems. These evolutionary models incorporate a number of features potentially preservable or inferable from the fossil record (integument, skeletal adaptations for flight, egg and clutch size, nest form, hatchling developmental stage, the number and function of oviducts, and the mode of egg incubation). Increasing availability of data on dinosaur reproduction provides a means of assessing these hypotheses with fossil evidence. We compare dinosaur data to a selection of models that emphasize maternal, paternal or biparental care. Despite some congruence with dinosaur features, no single model on the evolution of avian reproduction conforms fully to the fossil record, and the ancestral parental care system of birds remains ambiguous. Further investigation into dinosaur parental care, nest structures, clutch geometry, egg-pairing, eggshell porosity, and embryo identification may eventually resolve these issues.  

  Article infos

Published in Vol. 32, Fasc. 2-4 (2003)