A unique discovery has been made in China. The find in question is of fossilized pterosaur eggs more than 120 million years old, which will allow us to gain new understanding of the flying reptiles' way of life, who inhabited Earth during the time of the dinosaurs, announced Reuters.
Up until now, scientists had only 4 fossilized pterosaur eggs, which are flat. The newly found fossils however are 3-dimensional.
The remains of over 40 adult animals of an unknown species, living near a large freshwater lake, were also discovered near them.
Representatives of the species Hamipterus tianshanensis have a crest on their head, an elongated skull, sharp teeth with which to catch fish, and a wingspan of over 11.5 ft (3.5 m).
The 5 rounded eggs were relatively pliable, with the topmost layer, which is cracked, covering a thick membrane. In this sense, the eggs are similar to the soft eggs of modern lizards and snakes.
"These are the most well-preserved pterosaur eggs we have ever found, " commented the scientists excitedly.
The area where the fossils were unearthed shows that hundreds of similar reptiles were most likely living there. This gives reason to believe that pterosaurs formed large colonies and buried their eggs in wet sand to protect them from drying up.
Thanks to the fossils, they can also detect differences between the pterosaurs of different sexes. Scientists have noticed that the males are larger and have a bigger crest than the females.
It is thought that the deaths of the animals inhabiting that particular site were caused by a powerful storm. In general, science does not have much information on pterosaurs, since their remains are way too fragile and difficult to preserve.
These reptiles existed in the interval between 220 million and 65 million years ago. Birds and bats appeared much later.