Abstract

We provide a detailed description of the sauropod eggs from the Late Cretaceous nesting site of Auca Mahuevo (Neuquén Province, Argentina), the only eggs that are unequivocally associated with titanosaurid dinosaurs. These eggs are subspherical averaging 132 by 115 mm. Well-preserved specimens display a pronounced eggshell ornamentation that consists mostly of single nodes averaging 0.58 mm in diameter and 0.28 mm in height (base to apex) with internodular values of 0.52 to 0.87 mm. The pore canal network consists of vertical and horizontal canals intersecting at the bases of eggshell units. Vertical canals may fork defining a “Y” pattern and their diameters vary between 0.08 and 0.2 mm. Their surficial apertures of 0.15 to 0.29 mm are funnel like and located between the surficial nodes. In pristine specimens, the eggshell thickness equals 1.31 mm, and radial sections exhibit a single structural horizontal layer composed of juxtaposed shell units consisting of acicular calcite crystals radiating from an organic core. Relying only on taxonomically identified oological material, we regard this character also shared in the innermost layer (layer 1) of Deinonychus antirrhopus, oviraptorid theropods, and observed during an early oogenetic stage in extant bird as primitive for saurischians. The eggshell morphology advocates that these eggs were likely incubated in moist nesting environments, perhaps such as nests covered with vegetal matter. Examination of the South American megaloolithid eggshells reveals that the titanosaurid eggs from Auca Mahuevo are mostly similar to those described as Megaloolithus patagonicus and Megaloolithus pseudomamillare.

You do not currently have access to this article.