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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.
Senior Principal Preparator
American Museum of Natural History
(212) 496 3544