A university study into the incubation behavior of modern birds is shedding new light on the type of parental care carried out by their long extinct ancestors.
The study, by researchers at George Mason University and University of Lincoln (United Kingdom), aimed to test the hypothesis that data from exisiting birds could be used to predict the incubation behaviour of Theropods, a group of carnivorous dinosaurs from which birds descended.
The paper, out today in Biology Letters, was co-written by Geoff Birchard from the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at Mason and Charles Deeming and Marcello Ruta from the University of Lincoln's School of Life Sciences.
A 2009 study in the journal Science suggested that it was males of the small, carnivorous dinosaurs Troodon and Oviraptor that incubated their eggs. However, by taking into account factors known to affect egg and clutch mass in living bird species, the authors found that shared incubation with mature young was the ancestral incubation behavior rather than male-only incubation, which had been claimed previously for these Theropod dinosaurs."The previous study was carried out to infer the type of parental care in dinosaurs that are closely related to birds," said Birchard. "That study proposed that paternal care was present in these dinosaurs and this form of care was the ancestral condition for birds. Our new analysis, based on three times as many species as in the previous study, indicates that parental care cannot be inferred from simple analyses of the relationship of body size to clutch mass. Such analyses have to take into account factors such as shared evolutionary history and maturity at hatching.
"Irrespective of whether you accept the idea of Theropod dinosaurs sitting on eggs like birds or not, the analysis raised some concerns that we wanted to address," said Deeming. "Our analysis of the relationship between female body mass and clutch mass was interesting in its own right, but also showed that it was not possible to conclude anything about incubation in extinct distant relatives of the birds."
The project has helped in understanding the factors affecting the evolution of incubation in birds. More importantly it is hoped that the new analysis will assist palaeontologists in their interpretation of future finds of dinosaur reproduction in the fossil record.
Tara Laskowski | EurekAlert!
Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie
Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy