The difficulty in re-constructing dinosaurs for television and movies lies in the fact that not everything can be preserved. Fossilized bones create the skeleton of a dinosaur, thereby allowing scientists to study how they moved, how big they grew, and how different body parts worked as a whole. But what children see on television: the scaly green skin of the brontosaurs or the brown hair of a mastodon may not hold much fact. Unfortunately, particular physical features cannot be fossilized. Skin, cartilage, hair and other soft tissues usually decay before leaving science no clues to what these dinosaurs truly looked like. The public also cannot know the social behaviors of dinosaurs. Movies generally portray all carnivores like the T-Rex as monstrous bullies while the larger vegetarians all seem slow and peaceful. Up until recently, no hard evidence can be found to help support or dismiss any of these stereo-types. In the barren deserts of Argentina, a team of scientists from the National Geographic Society came across a massive graveyard of fossilized dinosaur eggs. In 1997, Dr. Luis Chiappe and Dr. Lowell Dingus discovered a rare opportunity to finally study the external functions of an ancient creature that contained fossilized teeth imprints, embryos and skin impressions. This unearthing unlocks endless prospects to learn about dinosaur behavior and external attributes, topics which used to be some of the most problematic areas of study. The most remarkable aspect, of course, is how the most delicate of information is found within an egg.
Dinosaur eggs are quite rare to begin with. The first unearthing was on July 31, 1922 by George Olson, later, in 1991...
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2 Chiappe, L., Coria, A., and Dingus, L., 2002. “Ground breakers of Patagonia: paleontologists rarely have the chance to document dinosaur behavior. In Argentina, the authors found rock-solid evidence of a sauropod’s private life.”
3 Chiappe, L., et al. “Sauropod dinosaur embryos from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia.” 19 November 1998. Nature.
6 InfoQuest Foundation, 1998. “First Dinosaur Embryo Skin Impressions Discovered.”
7 Chiappe, L., Coria, A., and Dingus, L.
8 Chiappe, L., Coria, A., and Dingus, L.
9 Trivedi, Bijal P. “Eggs Hold Skulls of Titanosaur Embryos.” National Geographic 27 September 2001.
11 Whitlock, Kelli. “Putting Dinosaurs’ Noses Back Where They Really Were.”
3 August 2001. UniSci.
12 Clarke, Tom. “Dinosaur faces rearranged.” 3 August 2001. Nature.
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