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Chinese Science Bulletin, Volume 62, Issue 23: 2660-2665(2017) https://doi.org/10.1360/N972016-01479

New oospecies of dinosaur eggs from the Upper Cretaceous of South Anhui

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  • ReceivedDec 30, 2016
  • AcceptedMay 24, 2017
  • PublishedJul 3, 2017

Abstract

A new oogenus and oospecies, Umbellaoolithusxiuningensis oogen. et oosp. nov., is described on the basis of specimens from the Upper Cretaceous Huizhou Formation in the Huangshan area of Anhui Province, China. The Mesozoic strata developed in South Anhui, producing a large number of dinosaur skeletons, dinosaur eggs, dinosaur footprints and so on. The Xiuning Basin is a small intermountain basin during the Mesozoic. The Triassic strata are scattered and the Jurassic and Cretaceous strata are intact in the basin. The Jurassic strata include the lower Jurassic Yuetan Formation, and Middle Jurassic Hongqin Formation. The Cretaceous strata include the lower Cretaceous Bingqiu Formation, Shiling Formation and Yantang Formation, Upper Cretaceous Huizhou Formation, Qiyunshan Formation and Xiaoyan Formation. The materials we studied were found in the Huizhou Formation of Qiyunshan, Xiuning, in 2011. There is an incomplete egg nest consisting of at least 9 dinosaur eggs. The eggs are oval, arranged along the long axis of all the eggs parallel to each other, and not at the same horizontal level within the clutch, obviously differing from the elongated eggs, paired, regular arrangement and radial orientation seen in clutches attributable to the Elongatoolithidae and Macroelongatoolithidae. The eggs of Umbellaoolithus xiuningensis also differ in typical alignment from those of the Prismatoolithidae, which are vertical or near vertical. The average diameter of the eggs is 13.86 cm, the equatorial diameter is 10.43 cm, and the shape index is 75.25. In general, the eggshell units have the shape of an umbrella, triangle or cone, and are arranged irregularly, unlike in the Spheroolithidae, Stalicoolithidae and Ovaloolithidae. The cones are hemispherical in shape. The cone layer is very thin, its average thickness of 0.12 mm representing approximately 1/6 of the total eggshell thickness. Umbrella-like eggshell units are well-developed near the inner and outer surfaces of the columnar layer. The eggshells have numerous irregular pores, unlike in several oofamilies including the Dictyoolithidae and Faveoolithidae. Consequently, we established a new oofamily: Umbellaoolithidae oofam. nov.. This new specimen unambiguously represents a distinct oospecies of dinosaur eggs in southern Anhui, and provides new paleontological evidence bearing on the classification and correlation of Upper Cretaceous strata in southern Anhui.


Funded by

国土资源部公益性行业科研专项(201511054)

国家自然科学基金(41672012)

国家自然科学基金(41688103)

安徽省公益性地质工作项目(2011-g-32)


Acknowledgment

在项目完成过程中, 安徽省地质矿产勘查局327地质队毕治国、齐敦伦, 安徽省地质博物馆宫维莉等参加了野外调查与标本采集工作, 中国科学院古脊椎动物与古人类研究所张文定协助完成了蛋壳显微结构扫描电子显微镜的观察, 周红娇修复了标本, 高伟拍摄蛋窝照片, 赵资奎研究员审阅了文章初稿, Corwin Sullivan审阅了英文摘要, 两位审稿人提出了宝贵的修改意见, 在此一并表示感谢.


References

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  • Figure 1

    Distribution map of dinosaur bones, dinosaur eggs, dinosaur footprints in South of Anhui (modified from Yu[1]). The arrow shows the locality of dinosaur eggs in this paper in (b)

  • Figure 2

    The nest of the Umbellaoolithusxiuningensis oogen. et oosp. nov.. Nine dinosaur eggs in different complete levels, orientation along the long axis of fossil eggs, not on the same plane; No. 1–5 more complete, No. 7–9 preserve some eggshells and outline of eggs, No. 6 only a little eggshell, and stack on the No.5

  • Figure 3

    Microstructure of the Umbellaoolithus xiuningensis oogen. et oosp. nov. in radial sections. (a) Microstructure of eggshell in Polarizing microscope, showing umbrella, cone and triangle eggshell units, eggshell units not uniform, and some of the units three or two gathered together, separated by the pores, the red arrow showing the nucleation center of the hemispherical cone; (b) microstructure of eggshell units in SEM, showing Calcite crystal structure of the eggshell units, showing the nucleation center of the hemispherical cone (red arrow)

  • Figure 4

    Microstructure of the Umbellaoolithus xiuningensis oogen. et oosp. nov.. (a) Microstructure of eggshell units in SEM; (b) a single hemispherical cone in SEM (enlarge of the block in (a)), showing the nucleation center of the hemispherical cone (the red arrow); (c), (d) umbrella structure of the eggshell units near outsurface of the eggshell ((c) in SEM, (d) in Polarizing microscope), the umbrella structure of eggshell composed of large calcite crystals (white arrow in (c)); (e), (f) umbrella structure of the eggshell units near the boundary of the cone layer and the columnar layer ((e) in SEM, (f) in Polarizing microscope), the umbrella structure of eggshell also composed of large calcite crystals (white arrow in (e)), and showing the nucleation center of the round cone (red arrow in (f)); (g) uneven arrangement cones in tangential section through the cone layer, and nucleation center of the hemispherical cone; (h) distinct interval eggshell units and irregular pores in tangential section through the columnar layer

  • Table 1   Measurements of eggs

    标本编号

    长径(cm)

    赤道直径(cm)

    形状指数

    1

    13.72

    10.64

    77.55

    2

    13.74

    10.41

    75.76

    3

    14.11

    10.60

    75.12

    5

    13.86

    10.06

    72.58

    平均值

    13.86

    10.43

    75.25

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