Structure and evolutionary implications of the earliest (Sinemurian, Early Jurassic) dinosaur eggs and eggshells View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle      Open Access: True


Article Info

DATE

2019-12

AUTHORS

Koen Stein, Edina Prondvai, Timothy Huang, Jean-Marc Baele, P. Martin Sander, Robert Reisz

ABSTRACT

One of the fossil record's most puzzling features is the absence of preserved eggs or eggshell for the first third of the known 315 million year history of amniote evolution. Our meagre understanding of the origin and evolution of calcareous eggshell and amniotic eggs in general, is largely based on Middle Jurassic to Late Cretaceous fossils. For dinosaurs, the most parsimonious inference yields a thick, hard shelled egg, so richly represented in the Late Cretaceous fossil record. Here, we show that a thin calcareous layer (≤100 µm) with interlocking units of radiating crystals (mammillae) and a thick shell membrane already characterize the oldest known amniote eggs, belonging to three coeval, but widely distributed Early Jurassic basal sauropodomorph dinosaurs. This thin shell layer strongly contrasts with the considerably thicker calcareous shells of Late Jurassic dinosaurs. Phylogenetic analyses and their Sinemurian age indicate that the thin eggshell of basal sauropodomorphs represents a major evolutionary innovation at the base of Dinosauria and that the much thicker eggshell of sauropods, theropods, and ornithischian dinosaurs evolved independently. Advanced mineralization of amniote eggshell (≥150 µm in thickness) in general occurred not earlier than Middle Jurassic and may correspond with a global trend of increase in atmospheric oxygen. More... »

PAGES

4424

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1038/s41598-019-40604-8

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40604-8

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1112759500

PUBMED

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30872623


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