Dino Eggs…And What's Inside
by Sara F. Schacter
What could be rarer than discovering the egg of a real dinosaur? How about finding the baby dinosaur still inside? In a huge dinosaur nesting ground in Argentina, scientists recently found the fossil remains of six unhatched baby dinosaurs. About a foot long and snuggled up inside eggs the size of grapefruit, these dinosaur embryos have helped solve the mystery of which dinosaurs laid the miles and miles of eggs buried in the dirt and rock.
The tiny embryos were titanosaurs—a type of sauropod, the long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs that were among the largest land animals ever. Scientists were amazed that their delicate skulls and fragile skin had survived long enough to become fossilized. Some embryos still had tiny, sharp teeth in their mouths.
By studying the embryos' skulls, scientists are learning just how dramatically the structure of the titanosaurs' faces changed as they grew. The embryos' nostrils are at the tips of their snouts, but by the time titanosaurs were full grown, their skulls changed so that their nostrils were almost between their eyes.
In yet another amazing discovery, scientists in England have found fossilized dino vomit! Coughed up 160 million years ago by a large marine reptile called ichthyosaur, the vomit contains the undigested shells of squidlike shellfish—no doubt ichthyosaur's favorite snack. “We believe that this is the first time the existence of fossil vomit on a grand scale has been proven,” said one excited scientist.
- embryo: An animal in the earliest stage of development.
- fossil: Something that remains of a living thing from long ago.
- What did scientists learn by studying the dinosaur vomit?
[anno: Scientists learned what kind of food an ichthyosaur ate.]
- How did the titanosaur start life? What do you think happened after this first stage of life?
[anno: The titanosaur started life as an egg. The egg would hatch, and a baby titanosaur would be born.]