Dinosaurs reproduced by laying eggs.
Some dinosaurs seem to have laid their eggs and then left them, whereas others
seem to have incubuated their eggs and looked after their young in a similar
way to modern birds.
We know about this behavior because scientists have found
dinosaur eggs, and of dinosaur nests:
have been found arranged in lines (and not in nest). From this evidence,
scientists believe that
did not tend to their young. It is also thought like that neither did other
In the case of another
hundreds of eggs (which must have been from many different females)
were found buried together. From this it is thought that the animal must have
lived in herds. The burying of many eggs together would have probably have increased
the hatchling's chances of survival.
The eggs and nests of
were the first dinosaur eggs and nests found. In the case of
the eggs were carefully laid in spirals, with upto 18 eggs in each nest.
nests and eggs were found
by "Jack" Horner
and Robert Makela), they were found to be mounds of mud, with a depression in the center, and
each containing 30 to 40 eggs. Although
Maiasaura is not thought to
have sat on its nests (instead the eggs would have been incubated by the heat from rotting
vegetation), it is thought that
Maiasaura did tend to
hatchlings have been found which were incapable of walking but nevertheless had worn teeth - indicating that
adults must have brought food to the nest.
eggs also suggest that this dinosaur cared for its young. In the case of
near to hatching have been found, and these suggest that the hatchlings would have been
born with no teeth and incapable of feeding themselves - indicating that the parents must
have tended to their young.
A number of different dinosaurs have been characterized as probably eating other dinosaur's
eggs. These include
In the case of
Oviraptor, this may
be a particularly unfair characterization (which is especially ironic given that its name
means "egg thief"), since there is good evidence that
and cared for its own eggs - and thus the nest and eggs it has been found close to, may have
been its own.
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