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Five well-preserved dinosaurs eggs were discovered by scientists among other fossils found at a northwestern Chinese dig site in the Turpan-Hami Basin.
The eggs belonged to a new species of pterosaurs, Hamipterus tianshanensis, that lived 120 million years ago, and are a remarkable find because the only ones previously discovered were ruined by fossilization, reports the International Business Times. A report of the find was published by Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrae Paleontology and Paleoanthropology researchers in Current Biology.
The researchers noted in the report, "These fossils shed new light on the reproductive strategy, ontogeny, and the behavior of pterosaurs."
According to Reuters, along with the five pterosaur eggs, which is one more than was collectively discovered beforehand, the fossilized remains of about 40 different individuals of the new species were uncovered.
CASIVPP director and paleontologist Zhonghe Zhou said, "This is definitely the most important pterosaur site ever found." The site shows that pterosaurs lived in large colonies and live near lakes and buried their eggs in moist sang, which researchers believe might have helped these five eggs surviving fossilization.
The dig site also revealed that in this particular species of pterosaurs "size, shape and robustness are decided by the gender," Xiaolin Wang, paleontologist, said. The male fossils showed they had noticeably larger head crests.