18 November 2011

A nest of baby dinosaurs

We all (hopefully) know that dinosaur eggs have been found in nests.  Today Live Science had this photo and a story suggesting that they may have lingered in the nests to be cared for by parents.

A nest of 15 young dinosaurs uncovered in Mongolia — cousins of Triceratops — now suggests these plant-eating beasts might have cared for their young, scientists reveal.

The dinosaur is named Protoceratops andrewsi, a sheep-size herbivore that lived about 70 million years ago that's known for the frill at the back of its head. Within the nest were infants about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long and probably no more than a year old.

"The evidence suggests they may have been overrun by migrating dunes during a sandstorm," researcher David Fastovsky, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Rhode Island, told LiveScience. 
I wonder if they were able to delineate any sort of "nest structure" in the matrix to counter the possibility that the carcasses were assembled from a wider area by wind/predators/flash floods etc.  But how fascinating it must have been to find and dissect out this block of specimens.


  1. Evidence of postnatal parental care has already been found in dinosaurs. Maiasaura leg bones aren't fully formed when they're born (which means they couldn't leave the nest yet) and eggshells get broken to bits during their stay in the nest (which wouldn't happen if they left immediately). It's not surprising that non-avian dinosaurs cared for their young considering crocs and birds both do.

  2. More like 4,000 years ago. But yes exactly as you said, "Flash flood"


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