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Here’s how hefty dinosaurs sat on their eggs without crushing them

Sitting in the center of a ring of eggs kept dinos’ weight off — and warmth near — the eggs

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7:05pm, May 15, 2018

EGG SITTERS  Small species of oviraptorosaurs (background illustration) — dinosaurs that include birds’ ancestors — sat on their eggs, but larger species (foreground) sat in the eggless center of the clutch so as not to crush the eggs.

Brooding birds from chickadees to ostriches sit squarely on their eggs. But scientists thought some of the heftier dinosaur ancestors of birds might not be able to do that without crushing the clutches. Now, a new study finds that certain dinos with a little extra junk in the trunk also had a clever brooding strategy: They sat within an open space at the center of a ring of eggs, rather than right smack on top of them.

The researchers studied about three dozen fossilized egg clutches belonging to different species of oviraptorosaurs, a group of feathered meat-eating dinosaurs. Clutches laid by larger oviraptorosaur species also had the largest openings at the center, a team led by paleontologist Kohei Tanaka of Nagoya University Museum in Japan reports May 16 in Biology Letters.

Although it’s not possible to determine the exact species of oviraptorosaur from the eggs

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