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The Discovery of Hundreds of Pterosaur Eggs in China

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Scientists discovered bones and eggs from over 120 million-years ago, (Gramling,2017) in Beijing, China. This collection of 215 eggs, was accompanied by the bones of older individuals, all belonging to a type of Pterosaur called the Hamipterus tianshanensis. The remains were all in different stages of development. This collection led paleontologists to assume that these gigantic flying reptiles nested close together, (Grens, 2017). When paleontologist Alexander Kellner first saw the 35-square-foot block of sandstone filled with Pterosaur fossils, he couldn’t believe his eyes. “I was just speechless,” he says. (Potenza,2017)

Now, two years later, this 120-million-year-old block of sand has produced 215 Pterosaur eggs. 16 eggs still have fossilized embryos inside of their soft shells. (Potenza,2017) The article talks about how important these eggs and bones are to learning more about Pterosaurs. The eggs proved many things, some of which were known such as the fact that pterosaur’s had soft-shell eggs similar to present day lizards, instead of eggs with hard-shells, like birds. It also shows that flocks of pterosaurs might have nested close to each other. Laying their eggs in similar areas, and then returning to the nest in the same spot over time. (Potenza,2017) The scientists felt that the embryos could not fly after examining them, which was disagreed by others in the field.

Pterosaurs were considered to rule the skies during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, and have the largest vertebrate of anything known to fly. (Smith,2005) Pterosaurs varied in size. Varying from the size of a sparrow to the size of an airplane. Even with a wingspan that topped out at about 40 feet, Pterosaurs still could fly. (Smith,2005) Some people have trouble believing it but it is proven that Pterosaurs had hollow bones, as well as large brains with optic lobes, and several crests on their bones to which flight muscles attached. (Smith,2005)

The article also states a quote from Pterosaur expert David Unwin, “I’ve spent 35 years in paleontology field, and have seen a lot of great fossils. But this is certainly one of the three or five most interesting and probably most important specimens I’ve ever seen,” (Potenza 2017) The article talks about how previously before the block was found that only three eggs contained embryos and that this finding was very special. More embryos were also found in Argentina and elsewhere in China which had skeletons that were well developed. This helped paleontologists learn more about the Pterosaur. (Potenza,2017) There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to Pterosaurs but because of all the bones and eggs found, paleontologists are starting to learn more about this interesting species. Finding out how Pterosaurs lived and interacted only adds to our understanding of what life is actually capable of, even in the past. “Pterosaurs are completely unlike any living animal, so they show us a form of life or a way of life that doesn’t exist anymore,”(Potenza,2017) This quote perfectly describes the importance of this article. The studies done on the finding will be used to gather more information about Pterosaurs.

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