Qing He, Shukang Zhang, Lida Xing, Qin Jiang, Xiaoli Wang, Zhenghua Pan & Yi Hu (2017)
A new oospecies of Similifaveoloolithidae from the Xiuning Basin, Late Cretaceous of Anhui, China.
Historical Biology (advance online publication)
Well-preserved dinosaur eggs from the Cretaceous Huizhou Formation in the Xiuning Basin, Anhui Province, China, are analysed in this paper. We describe a new oospecies, Similifaveoloolithus qiyunshanensis, based on several distinct characters of external morphology, size, eggshell thickness, and internal microstructure. Radial sections of this new oospecies show branched eggshell units with a fused layer near the outer surface, while numerous irregular pores and cones constitute a honeycomb pattern in tangential sections. The discovery of S. qiyunshanensis expands the distribution of Similifaveoloolithidae dinosaur eggs in China and provides new fossils for researching dinosaur eggshell formation mechanisms which are different from those of the currently known oofamilies. The dinosaur-egg-bearing strata in the Huizhou Formation have been dated to the early Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian) on the basis of a similar dinosaur egg assemblage in the Tiantai Basin in Zhejiang Province. The eggs described in this paper are thought to have been laid in a buried nest while enrichment of trace elements in eggshells may have been caused by their ingestion into the body of the dinosaur producer. We suggest that the paleoclimate of this habitat was semi-arid to arid and that this environment was favourable for the preservation of eggs.