An Egg-Adult Association, Gender, and Reproduction in Pterosaurs

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Science  21 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6015, pp. 321-324
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197323

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A sexually mature individual of Darwinopterus preserved together with an egg from the Jurassic of China provides direct evidence of gender in pterosaurs and insights into the reproductive biology of these extinct fliers. This new find and several other examples of Darwinopterus demonstrate that males of this pterosaur had a relatively small pelvis and a large cranial crest, whereas females had a relatively large pelvis and no crest. The ratio of egg mass to adult mass is relatively low, as in extant reptiles, and is comparable to values for squamates. A parchment-like eggshell points to burial and significant uptake of water after oviposition. This evidence for low parental investment contradicts the widespread assumption that reproduction in pterosaurs was like that of birds and shows that it was essentially like that of reptiles.

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