Abstract

Avian and non-avian dinosaur eggshell contains clues that are helpful in the reconstruction of ancient habitats and behaviors. Fossilized eggshell often shows signs of corrosion attributed to acid dissolution of the calcium carbonate, but this process has never been quantified in controlled experiments. In work reported here, extant avian dinosaur eggshell fragments were placed in buffered solutions of varying pH and temperature for varying periods of time. Changes in the appearance, mass, surface area, and thickness were described and compared with naturally weathered eggshell. Treatment resulted in corrosion and pitting of the outer surface and corrosion of the mammillary structure of the inner surface. Fragment mass, surface area, and thickness generally decreased in response to decreased pH and to increased temperature and exposure time. A classification scheme for eggshell corrosion is proposed.

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