Second egg in Momma Darwinopterus?

Figure 1. Darwinopterus pelvic area in situ.

Figure 1. Darwinopterus pelvic area in situ.

Mrs. T, the AMNH specimen of Darwinopterus (Lü et al. 2011a, Figs. 1-3), preserves a well-defined egg just past her  fossilized cloaca, oddly on top of the tail in ventral view. This is the fourth pterosaur egg recognized by paleontologists. The other three, the IVPP specimen, the JZMP specimen and the MHIN specimen (embryo Pterodaustro), preceded it and preserve embryos with well-defined bones and a bit more leathery eggshell.

Figure 2. Pelvic elements colorized. Red-prepubes. Magenta-femora. Green-ilia. Blues-ventral pelvis. Yellow-vertebrae.

Figure 2. Pelvic elements colorized. Red-prepubes. Magenta-femora. Green-ilia. Blues-ventral pelvis. Yellow-vertebrae.

While trying to colorize the pelvic elements (Fig. 2), I came across a smaller oval that did not leave the body (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Darwinopterus egg (lower left), and possible egg (upper right). What is it really?

Figure 3. Darwinopterus egg (lower left), and possible egg (upper right). What is it really?

I wondered if it was a younger egg? There’s little reason for this. The eggshell, never substantial even in full term embryos, would not have formed at the early stage this size would represent. And the contents of the egg are mostly goo. Nevertheless, the larger more mature and verified egg, has little more substance than the small one.

So, if anyone out there can help with this  I.D., let me know.

References
Lü J, Unwin DM, Deeming DC, Jin X, Liu Y and Ji Q 2011a. An egg-adult association, gender, and reproduction in pterosaurs. Science, 331(6015): 321-324. doi:10.1126/science.1197323

2 thoughts on “Second egg in Momma Darwinopterus?

  1. What you have traced as an egg shape, looks to me to be a combination of the expanded distal end of the prepubis, and bits of gastrailia. I don’t think the magenta coloured area in the bit of raised matrix at the bottom center represents the opposite prepubis.

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