Oldest dinosaur nest discovered in South Africa along with dinosaur eggs, researchers say (Photo)

By on Jan 24, 2012 in Africa, Animals, Science Comments

The so-called oldest dinosaur nest was reportedly discovered in South Africa by an international team of researchers, with the photo of embryonic skeleton from one of the eggs available below.

Embryonic skeleton of Massospondylus, which was
found in the 190-million-year-old dinosaur nest

Image Credit: D. Scott

According to Live Science on Monday, January 23, 2012, the dinosaur nursery is a 190-million-year-old nest in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, where at least 10 nests with around 34 eggs each were found at different rock levels.

As noted in the report, in which the study also appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that day, tiny prints from baby dinosaurs that were found suggested that mother dinosaurs returned to the same spot to lay their eggs.

Apparently, researchers noted that this latest dinosaur nest discovery revealed that that the eggs, with most of them with embryos inside, belonged to the plant-eating dinosaur Massospondylus, a 20-foot ancestor of the largest animals to ever walk the Earth such as Brachiosaurus.

Based on the study, the mother dinosaur could be about 20 feet (6 meters) long and their eggs were only about 2.3 to 2.7 inches (6 to 7 centimeters) wide, which researchers noting that these eggs were carefully arranged by the mother.

“The eggs, embryos and nests come from the rocks of a nearly vertical road cut only 25 meters (82 feet) long. Even so, we found 10 nests, suggesting that there are a lot more in the cliff, still covered by tons of rock.” researcher Robert Reisz, a paleontologist at the University of Toronto at Mississauga told the paper.

“We literally spent days and days searching for the eggs and nests, spending most of our time on our hands and knees, but once we were able to recognize what to look for, we found four nests within 10 minutes,” Reisz added, noting that there could be a lot more in the cliff, still covered by tons of rock.

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