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Palaentologists have uncovered the best preserved cluster of three dimensionsal fossils ever discovered.
Located in the Xinjiang Uygur Region, the eggs belong to a new genus of pterosaur called Hamipterus tianshanensis and date back 120 million years to a time when these giant winged reptiles would have ruled the prehistoric skies.
The find is particularly significant because the eggs have been found in a three-dimensional state as oppose to two-dimensional like most fossils.
"This is definitely the most important pterosaur site ever found," said paleontologist Zhonghe Zhou. "Five eggs are three-dimensionally preserved, and some are really complete."
The site is thought to have been a pterosaur colony that was wiped out by a particularly violent storm. At least 40 individuals have been identified however it is believed that there would have been several hundred living there at its peak.
The researchers concluded there could have been hundreds at its peak.
"One of the significant (aspects) of this discovery - hundreds of individuals and eggs together from one site - is that it confirmed that pterosaurs were gregarious, and the population size is surprisingly large," Zhou said.
"I have been truly amazed by the abundance of bones and the number of eggs as well the great potential of more discoveries from the site," said Zhou.
"I have been truly amazed by the abundance of bones and the number of eggs as well the great potential of more discoveries from the site," Zhou told Reuters.
The team's new study is published in the journal Current Biology. The researchers examined a new species of pterosaur, named Hamipterus tianshanensis, which roughly means "the wing of Hami, in the Tianshan mountains."
I wonder what tests they will do, and are they going to try to use the fossils to create/ clone pterosaur eggs...
The eggs have a flexible structure with a thin exterior shell of calcium carbonate and an interior membrane that is soft and thick.
Pterodactyls were carnivores and scavengers. In the first few months of their life, they ate insects. As an adult they ate a lot of fish which they would catch from the surface of the water by dipping their long beaks in as they flew over, but they would also eat dinosaurs who were already dead.