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RE: smallest dino eggs

The article is online at Naturwissenschaften's website.

Buffetaut, Grellet-Tinner, Suteethorn, Cuny, Tong, Ko?ir, Cavin, Chitsing, Griffiths, Tabouelle and Le Loeuff, 2005. Minute theropod eggs and embryo from the Lower Cretaceous of Thailand and the dinosaur-bird transition. Online First DOI: 10.1007/s00114-005-0022-9.

Abstract We report on very small fossil eggs from the Lower Cretaceous of Thailand, one of them containing a theropod embryo, which display a remarkable mosaic of characters. While the surficial ornamentation is typical of non-avian saurischian dinosaurs, the three-layered prismatic structure of the eggshell is currently known only in extant and fossil eggs associated with birds. These eggs, about the size of a goldfinch's, mirror at the reproductive level the retention of small body size that was paramount in the transition from non-avian theropods to birds. The egg-layer may have been a small feathered theropod similar to those recently found in China.

Apparently the taxon is phylogenetically closer to birds than Citipati, Deinonychus or Troodon, but outside Ornithothoraces. So maybe it's a scansoriopterygid, archaeopterygid, 'shenzhouraptorid', omnivoropterygid or confuciusornithid. The authors call Epidendrosaurus a very small maniraptoran, but neglect the probability it's juvenile.

Mickey Mortimer

From: birdbooker@zipcon.net
Reply-To: birdbooker@zipcon.net
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: smallest dino eggs
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 11:00:33 -0700

Ian Paulsen
Bainbridge Island, WA USA
\"Rallidae all the way!\"