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Fossilised eggs shed light on reign of pterosaurs

From BBC - November 30, 2017

The largest clutch of pterosaurs eggs ever discovered suggests that the extinct flying reptiles may have gathered together in vast colonies to lay their eggs.

More than 200 eggs were discovered at one location in China.

Little is known about how the pterosaurs reproduced.

The find suggests that hatchlings were probably incapable of flight when they emerged from the egg, and needed some parental care.

Predator attack

Fossilised pterosaur eggs and embryos are extremely rare. Until now only a handful of eggs have been found, in Argentina and north-western China.

The large collection of eggs suggests pterosaurs may have nested in colonies, where they defended their offspring from predator attack.

Pterosaur experts Xiaolin Wang of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing and Alexander Kellner of the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro discovered the fossils.

The 215-plus eggs could not have been laid by the same female, said Dr Kellner.

An almost complete skeleton of a hatchling shows that bones related to flight were less developed than bones of the hind limb, indicating that newborns might have been able to walk but not fly.

'Crucial advance'

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