The find far outstrips previous discoveries of the flying reptile’s offspring
Hundreds of eggs belonging to a species of flying reptile that lived alongside dinosaurs are giving scientists a peek into the earliest development of the animals.
The find includes at least 16 partial embryos, several still preserved in 3-D. Those embryos suggest that the animals were able to walk, but not fly, soon after hatching, researchers report in the Dec. 1 Science.
Led by vertebrate paleontologist Xiaolin Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, the scientists uncovered at least 215 eggs in a block of sandstone about 3 meters square. All of the eggs belonged to one species of pterosaur, Hamipterus tianshanensis, which lived in the early Cretaceous Period about 120 million years ago in what is now northwestern China.
Previously, researchers have found only a handful of eggs belonging to the winged reptiles, including