0843 GMT August 15, 2018
A new study released that dinosaurs’ use of specific materials and techniques in nest building — which influenced how warm their eggs would be — may have affected where they were able to live, according to usatoday.com.
The study said, “By building nests to keep their eggs warm enough, dinosaurs successfully incubated their eggs in various climates, presumably using brooding behaviors or various styles of nests like living birds today.”
The study was published in Scientific Reports, a peer-reviewed British journal.
It turns out that different dinosaurs preferred different materials for nest-building: Some used soil or plant materials to build mounds, whereas others dug holes in the sand in which they laid their eggs.
Study lead author Kohei Tanaka of Nagoya University Museum in Japan said the holes, which were favored by some dinosaurs, relied mainly on heat from the Sun to incubate eggs. Their temperature was only slightly higher than the air temperature.
However, others preferred mounds made of soil and plants that were heated by microbes as they decayed organic matter, making them significantly warmer than the surrounding air.
This allowed the dinosaurs that built them to reproduce in colder, more northerly climates, such as the Arctic.
In order to better understand dinosaur nesting habits, paleontologists looked at the nesting strategies of living animals today — such as crocodiles and birds — to assess whether certain types of nests could have been used by dinosaurs in cooler climates.
The authors also compared data on dinosaur nests, eggs and eggshells to find out whether dinosaurs preferred certain materials to build covered nests.
The comparisons show that the relationship between nest types, building materials, and heat sources for incubation as seen in animals today could give clues about nesting habits in extinct, non-birdlike dinosaurs.
Thus, the study concluded that the dinosaurs’ preferred nesting style may have played a role in where they were able to live.