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Re: Troodon/Orodromeus hypothesis



Here I am making my first, provisional, effort to write out six explicit 
hypotheses that can explain the presence of the Byronosaurus skulls in the nest 
of the Xanadu oviraptorid. 

I welcome your corrections and improvements.

In these hypotheses the partial Byronosaurus skulls belonged to two 
Byronosaurus individuals that were:

1)  ...predated by the brooding oviraptorid while they were still embryos 
within their own eggs. 

2)  ...predated by the brooding oviraptorid during or just after hatching 

        (In both of the above cases the oviraptorid probably left its own nest 
occasionally to forage for food, as some brooding father ratites and tinamous 
do today. The oviraptorid would have fed on        Byronosaurus in the 
Byronosaurus nest or in the field, and then dropped the skull material as 
debris in its own nest.)


3) ...within their own eggs in the oviraptorid host nest. 

4)   ...hatching or recently hatched in the oviraptorid host nest. 

        (In both of the above cases Byronosaurus would have been a nest 
parasite, and the mother would have laid two or more eggs in the oviraptorid 
nest, as Cuckoos and other birds do today.)

5)  ...hatchlings that were attracted to the oviraptorid nest  by the 
possibility of food. They may have been foraging with their father, as some 
basal birds do today, or they may have investigated the nest while foraging on 
their own. They may have then been killed by the brooding father oviraptorid or 
killed in the event that buried the nest.

6) ...remains swept into the oviraptorid nest by the sand flow that deposited 
the nest for fossilization, or simply debris from the nearby area.

Next we can discuss and/or make a list of the evidence for and against each one.

Jason Brougham
Senior Principal Preparator
American Museum of Natural History
jaseb@amnh.org
(212) 496 3544