Published — Friday 31 May 2013
Last update 30 May 2013 6:28 am
WASHINGTON: Male dinosaurs may not have had a caring side after all. Five years ago, a study of theropod dinosaurs concluded that it was male dinosaurs that incubated the eggs of their offspring.
Now a new analysis of the same data is challenging that finding. It is notoriously difficult to work out how long-extinct animals behaved, but a few fossils found in recent decades show clearly that some Mesozoic theropods, a bipedal group of carnivorous dinosaurs, made — and sat on — nests, apparently in the same way that birds do today.
In 2008, David Varricchio at Montana State University in Bozeman and his colleagues set about learning more about dinosaur parenting. Their strategy was to combine data from those fossils with what we know about how their descendants behave today.