Scientists use X-rays to look inside fossil dinosaur eggs

Scientists Use X-Rays To Look Inside Fossil Dinosaur Eggs

Scientists use X-rays to look inside fossil dinosaur eggs. The powerful X-ray beam at the European Synchrotron in France allowed an international team of researchers to study some of the world‘s oldest and best-preserved dinosaur embryos and to reconstruct them in 3D. Clutch of Masospondylus carinatus eggs.

In 1976 a group of seven underground dinosaur eggs were recovered from the Elliott Formation of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in South Africa. Two partially exposed embryos in the clutch were quickly identified as dinosaurs, making them the eggs and embryos of the oldest known dinosaurs in the world.

The fossilized eggs are from Massospondylus carinatus, a 5 meter long sauropodomorphic dinosaur that lived about 200 million years ago (Jurassic period). At ESRF, an 844-meter-long electron ring traveling at the speed of light uses high-powered X-ray rays that can be used for nondestructive exploration material, including fossils,” paleontology experts explained.

“The embryo was scanned at an unprecedented level of detail, at the resolution of an individual bone cell.” With these figures in hand, they were able to create a 3D model of the skull of the Massospondylus carinatus embryo.

Watercolor of 17% Masospondylus carinatus embryos during the incubation period at 60% and 100% during the incubation period. Image by Melania Satorori. “No laboratory CT scanner in the world can generate this type of data.

Only with a large facility like ESRF can we unlock the hidden potential of our most exciting fossils, “said Dr. Vincent Fernandez, a scientist at the London Museum of Natural History. The researchers noted similarities between dinosaur embryos and developing crocodile embryos. , chickens, turtles and lizards.

“Comparing that the skull bones of the dinosaur embryos were present at different stages of their development, we can now show that the Masospondylus carinatus embryos were actually much shorter than before and only 60% during their incubation period.” “We also found that each fetus had two types of teeth preserved in its developing jaw.”

“A set was made up of very simple triangular teeth, which are made to perch or jump before hatching like today’s jackos and crocodiles. The second set was very similar to adults, and would be those that accompanied the fetus. “

Digital reconstruction of the fetal skull Masospondylus carinatus. “I was very surprised to learn that these embryos not only had teeth, but had two types of teeth,” said Dr., a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand. Kimmy Chappell said.

“The teeth are very small; they extend from 0.4 to 0.7 mm wide. It is smaller than the tip of a toothpick.” The team concluded that dinosaurs evolved into eggs as relatives of their reptiles, whose pattern of embryonic development It has not changed in 200 million years.

“It is incredible that in the evolution of more than 250 million years of reptiles, the way the egg develops in the skull remains more or less the same. This shows that you don’t play with something good, ”said Professor Jonah Choenite, also from the University of the Witwatersrand. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The powerful X-ray beam at the European Synchrotron in France allowed an international team of researchers to study some of the world’s oldest and best-preserved dinosaur embryos and to reconstruct them in 3D.

In 1976,  group of seven subsorphic dinosaur eggs were recovered from the Elliott Formation of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in South Africa. The two partially exposed embryos in the clutch were quickly identified as dinosaurs, making them one of the oldest dinosaur eggs and embryos in the world.

he fossilized eggs are from Massospondylus carinatus, a 5 meter long sauropodomorphic dinosaur that lived about 200 million years ago (Jurassic period).

“At ESRF, an 844-meter-long electron ring traveling at the speed of light uses high-powered X-ray rays that can be used for nondestructive exploration material, including fossils,” paleontology experts explained.

The embryo was scanned at an unprecedented level of detail, at the resolution of an individual bone cell. With these figures in hand, they were able to create a 3D model of the skull of the Masospondylus carinatus embryo.

Watercolor of embryos of Masospondylus carinatus at 17% during the incubation period, 60% during the incubation period and 100% during the incubation period.

Watercolor of embryos of Masospondylus carinatus at 17% during the incubation period, 60% during the incubation period and 100% during the incubation period. Sincerely Image: Melania Satorory

“No laboratory CT scanner in the world can generate this type of data. Only with a large facility like ESRF can we unlock the hidden potential of our most exciting fossils, “said Dr. Vincent Fernandez, a scientist at the London Museum of Natural History.

The researchers noted similarities between dinosaur embryos and developing crocodile embryos. , chickens, turtles and lizards. “By comparing that the skull bones of the dinosaur embryos were present at different stages of their development.

We can now demonstrate that the Masospondylus carinatus embryos were actually much shorter than before and only 60% during their incubation period. we also found that each fetus had two types of teeth preserved in its developing jaw.

One set was made of very simple triangular teeth that were rebuilt or molded before hatching like today’s geckos and crocodiles. They range from 0.4 to 0.7 mm wide. It is smaller than the tip of a toothpick. The team concluded that dinosaurs evolved into eggs as relatives of their reptiles.

Whose embryonic development pattern has not changed in 200 million years. It is undeniable that in the evolution of more than 250 million reptiles, the way the skull develops in the egg remains more or less the same. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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