A new paper out in Paleobiology by Verracchio et al. describes the porosity of Troodon formosus eggs and uses the data as evidence to support the hypothesis that troodontids brooded their eggs, like modern birds and other known maniraptorans, rather than burying them, like crocodilians and some other modern birds. In and of itself, this conclusion is interesting in that it pretty much solidifies nest brooding (as opposed to burial) as the ancestral trait for modern birds, and for maniraptorans (or at least chuniaoans*) in general.
|Study coauthor Darla Zelenitsky with Troodon formosus nest. Photo by Jay Im, University of Calgary.|
(Of course, this is not to imply that all chuniaoans must have brooded their eggs. It's entirely possible that reversals to burial nesting occurred, as with modern megapodes, and this seems especially likely for very large species like some dromaeosaurines. But the odds that any given chuniaoan would not be a brooder are low.)
|Arctic troodontids, anatomy based on Troodon formosus. |
Matt Martyniuk, all rights reserved.