A new study confirms that at least one species of dinosaurs used to lay eggs that were blue-green colored. In turn, this suggests and also confirms that at least some of these animals had features still common in some of their present-day descendants – birds.
The blue dinosaur eggs were discovered after taking a closer look and testing a fossilized dinosaur nest.
Blue Dinosaur Eggs Prove a Further Tie to Modern Day Bird Species
This new research analyzed the fossils discovered in the nest of late species of oviraptor that lived during the Late Cretaceous. The Heyuannia huangi, which lived in China some 66 million years ago, was a beaked, ostrich-like dinosaur.
All reptile species and most bird ones lay white, uncolored eggs. For a long time, it was assumed that dinosaur did so as well. Fossilized dinosaur eggs are usually brown or black colored. This happens because of the iron, iron oxide, or other such minerals that stain them during the fossilization process.
Still, the Heyuannia huangi eggs had a bluish tint, found only in them. So the study team used mass spectrometry to analyze their fossilized nest. In doing so, they found traces of biliverdin and protoporphyrin.
The former is known to be the reason behind the modern birds’ blue and green eggs. At the same time, the latter is known to produce red and brown speckles and coloring.
The team notes that its discovery and confirmation of blue dinosaur eggs further strengthens their ties to modern birds. It also helped offer new clues as to the behavior of the Heyuannia huangi.
Ostrich, emu, and cassowary and known for laying stunning green and blue-hued eggs. These help them camouflage their open ground nests from predators. Such structures are also known for being watched over by the species’ fathers.
The discovery of the blue dinosaur eggs suggests that this ancient species had a similar nesting structure, possibly even the same guarding fathers system.
“According to the sexual signaling hypothesis, the reconstructed blue-green eggs support the origin of previously hypothesized avian paternal care in oviraptorid dinosaurs,” states the research team in its study paper.
This is available in the open journal PeerJ.
Image Source: FreeGreatPicture