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Dino eggs came in different colors

Pigments found in fossil eggshells tell of nesting habits of some oviraptors

7:00am, May 29, 2015
dino egg

BLUE HUE  Fossilized eggshells of the dinosaur Heyuannia huangi harbor pigments that would have colored the shells in shades of blue and brown.

Dinosaur eggs had the blues.

Pigments detected in 66-million-year-old eggs from China suggest that the shells came in intense shades of bluish-green, scientists report online May 15 in PeerJ Preprints. Picking up on eggshell pigments could help scientists color in the details of dinosaurs’ nesting habits.

“This is very, very cool,” says paleontologist Luis Chiappe of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The authors’ approach “allows you to reconstruct the original color of dinosaur eggs.” No one has tried this before, he says.

Scientists have previously inspected dinosaur fossils for hints of color: Ancient feathers may have glimmered iridescent or flashed shades of auburn and chestnut. But no one had a clue about eggshell hues, says study coauthor Martin Sander, a paleobiologist from the University of Bonn in Germany.

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