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Dinosaur Reproduction and Development

The last few decades have witnessed important discoveries in the field of dinosaur developmental biology and a dramatic change in our perception of how dinosaurs grew and developed. Our research on this topic has centered on the embryonic development, growth, and reproductive characteristics of several groups of dinosaurs. These studies have reported on the discovery of embryos and/or neonates of the long-necked sauropods and the carnivorous theropods (including birds), and they have documented different nesting strategies and behaviors for some of these dinosaurs. Paramount among these investigations has been the discovery and interpretation of Auca Mahuevo, an enormous Late Cretaceous sauropod nesting ground in Patagonia (Argentina) that has yielded significant information about the development and reproductive behavior of titanosaur sauropods.


1994. Norell, M. A., Clark, J. M., Dashzeveg D., Barsbold R., Chiappe, L. M., Davidson, A.R., McKenna, M.C., & M.J. Novacek. A Theropod Dinosaur Embryo, and the Affinities of the Flaming Cliffs Dinosaur Eggs. Science 266: 779-782.

1995. Norell, M. A., Clark, J. M., Chiappe, L. M. & D. Dashzeveg. A nesting dinosaur. Nature 378: 774-776. 

1998. Chiappe, L. M., Coria, R. A. A., Dingus, L., Jackson, F., Chinsamy, A., & M. Fox. Sauropod Dinosaur Embryos from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia. Nature 396:258-261. 

1999. Clark, J. M., Norell, M. A. & L. M. Chiappe. An oviraptorid skeleton from the Late Cretaceous of Ukhaa Tolgod, Mongolia, preserved in an avian-like brooding position over an oviraptorid nest. American Museum Novitates 3265: 1-36. 

2001. Chiappe, L. M., Salgado, L., & R. A. Coria. Embryonic skulls of titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs. Science 293: 2444-2446. 

2004. Grellet-Tinner, G. & L. M. Chiappe. Dinosaur eggs & nesting: Implications for understanding the origin of birds. In P. J. Currie, E. B. Koppelhus, & M. A. Shugar (eds.), pp. 185-214, Feathered dragons: studies on the transition from dinosaurs to birds. 

2004. Chiappe, L. M., Schmitt, J. G., Jackson, F. D., Garrido, A., Dingus, L., & G. Grellet-Tinner. Nest structure for sauropods: Sedimentary criteria for recognition of dinosaur nesting traces. Palaios 19: 89-95. 

2004. Grellet-Tinner, G., Chiappe, L. M., & R. A. Coria. Eggs of titanosaurid sauropods from the Upper Cretaceous of Auca Mahuevo (Argentina). Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 41: 949-960. 

2004. Jackson, F. D., Garrido, A., Schmitt, J. G., Chiappe, L. M., Dingus, L., & D. B. Loope. Abnormal, multilayered titanosaur (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) eggs from in situ clutches at the Auca Mahuevo locality, Neuquén Province, Argentina. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 24(4): 913-922. 

2005. Salgado, L., Coria, R. A. A., & L. M. Chiappe. Anatomy of the sauropod embryos from Auca Mahuevo (Upper Cretaceous), Neuquén, Argentina. Acta Paleontologica Polonica 50(1): 79-92. 

2005. Chiappe, L. M., Jackson, F. D., Coria, R. A. A., & L. Dingus.  Nesting titanosaurids from Auca Mahuevo & adjacent sites (Late Cretaceous; Patagonia, Argentina): Understanding sauropod reproductive behavior & embryonic development. In Jeff Wilson & Kristi Curry-Rogers, Sauropod Paleobiology, University of California Press. 

2007. Coria, R. A. & L. M. Chiappe.  Embryonic skin from Late Cretaceous sauropods (Dinosauria) of Auca Mahuevo, Patagonia, Argentina.  Journal of Paleontology 81(6):1528-1532.

2008.  Sander, P. M., Peitz, C., Jackson, F.D. and L. M. Chiappe. Upper Cretaceous titanosaur nesting sites and their implications for sauropod dinosaur reporductive biology.  Palaeontographica Abteilung Abt. A 284(4-6): 69-107.

2008.  Jackson, F. D., Varricchio, D. J., Jackson, R. A., Vila, B. & L. M. Chiappe.  Comparison of water vapor conductance in a titanosaur egg from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina and a Megaloolithus siruguei egg from Spain.  Paleobiology 34(2): 229-246.

2009.  Dingus, L., Garrido, A., Scott, G. R., Chiappe, L. M., Clarke, J. & J. G. Schmitt.  The Litho-, Bio- and Magnetostratigraphy of Titanosaurian nesting sites in the Anacleto Formation at Auca Mahuevo (Campanian, Neuquen Province, Argentina). Papers in Honor of Michael O. Woodburne.  Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 65: 237-257.

2010.  Coria, R. A., Salgado, L. & L. M. Chiappe.  Multiple dinosaur egg-shell occurrence in an Upper Cretaceous nesting site from Patagonia.  Ameghiniana 47(1): 107-110.