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Ask a Paleontologist: How Did Dinosaurs Reproduce?

by AMNH on

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video series on delves into the topic of dinosaurs, which arose some 230 million years ago and thrived until large dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. 

How did dinosaurs reproduce? The Central Asiatic Expeditions, led by the Museum's Roy Chapman Andrews and Walter Granger, discovered some of the earliest, well-preserved dinosaur eggs in Mongolia during the 1920s. The oval-shaped eggs, about 20 cm long, were thought to belong to the most commonly found dinosaur at the Flaming Cliffs, Protoceratops.

However, Museum expeditions in the 1990s discovered identical eggs, one of which contained the embryo of an Oviraptor-like dinosaur, which altered our view of which dinosaur laid these eggs.

Oviraptor fossil with eggs
Oviraptor fossil with eggs
© AMNH/D. Finnin

Also, skeletons of Oviraptor were discovered squatting on top of clusters of eggs, with their arms folded back against their body, just like many living birds brood on their nests.

Learn more from Mark A. Norell, chair of the Division of Paleontology, in this video.