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Gastronithid eggs from France



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A non-dino paper that may be of interest:

D. Angst, E. Buffetaut, C. Lécuyer, R. Amiot, F. Smektala, S. Giner,
A. Méchin, P. Méchin, A. Amoros, L. Leroy, M. Guiomar, H. Tong and A.
Martinez (2014)
Fossil avian eggs from the Palaeogene of southern France: new size
estimates and a possible taxonomic identification of the egg-layer.
Geological Magazine (advance online publication)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0016756814000077
http://128.232.233.5/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9230936&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0016756814000077




Eggshell fragments attributed to large birds have been known from the
Palaeogene of southern France for half a century, but reconstructing
their original dimensions and identifying the birds that laid the eggs
has been fraught with difficulties. On the basis of numerous newly
collected specimens and using geometrical calculations, the original
size of the thick-shelled eggs is reconstructed, showing that they
were slightly larger than ostrich eggs, with a greatest length of 17.8
cm and a mean diameter of 12.0 cm in transversal section. The
estimated volume is 1330.4 cm3. The fossil eggs from southern France
are thus among the largest known avian eggs, being only surpassed by
Aepyornis and some moas. Estimated egg mass is about 1.4 kg. On the
basis of egg mass, the body mass of the parent bird is estimated at
between 135.4 kg and 156.4 kg, assuming that the hatchlings were
precocial. These calculations are in good agreement with the
dimensions and mass estimates for the Palaeogene giant bird Gastornis,
a probable anseriform, which lived in Europe at the time the eggs were
laid. Other large Early Tertiary birds from Europe (Remiornis,
Palaeotis) are too small to have laid these eggs. In all likelihood,
the large eggs from the Palaeogene of southern France were laid by
gastornithid birds.

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