Like most of us, dinos probably fascinated you as a kid, and if you’ve ever heard of a flying dinosaur, chances are it was a pterosaur.
Now, imagining back to 225-65 million years ago in China, if there really were Chinese dragons in the skies at that time, they and the Pterosaurus would’ve been drinking buddies. With a a wingspan of up to 13 meters, to modern humans the Pterosaurus would look a lot like a flying giraffe.
But before Pterosaurus could become the flying death machine of the Mesozoic era, it was just a wee little egg. And now researchers in China have found their first fossilized egg in its original shape to date.
According to a press release: “[Paleontologist] Wang says that sediments in the area suggest that the pterosaurs died in a large storm about 120 million years ago… The researchers examined the largely intact pterosaur egg specimens to find that they were pliable, with a thin, calcareous eggshell outside and a soft, thick membrane inside, similar to the eggs of some modern-day snakes… [they] most likely buried their eggs in sand along the shore of an ancient lake to prevent them from drying out. “
Fossils are formed when mineral-rich groundwater seeps into the crevices of an organism occupied by gas or water in life. Eventually, as the water eats away at the remains, the minerals build up even within the cells. This can create fossils so detailed that even cellular micro-organism fossils have been discovered.