The scientists of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa managed to recreate the skeleton of several of the oldest dinosaur eggs. The researchers were able to recreate the skulls using the European Synchrotron originated from France, which is a non-destructive technology.
The findings are already published in the Scientific Reports, were the researchers are stating that the skulls’ development is similar to that of today’s animals such as chickens, crocodiles, lizards, or turtles.
The 3D reconstructions are 2cm long and portray the oldest dinosaurs ever known by humanity. The embryos were found back in 1976 in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in South Africa. The Massospondylus carinatus is a herbivore having 5 meters in length, which lived on Earth 200 million years ago. The embryos used for this study are belonging to this species.
Researchers used X-rays to study the oldest dinosaur eggs
Because of their insignificant size, the scientists were not able for a very long time to analyze these embryos. Back in 2015, there were brought to the European Synchroton in France for scanning and the results offered the researchers an enormous amount of detail at a very high resolution.
Having this deep scan, after three years of data processing, the laboratory in South Africa managed to produce a 3D copy of the baby skull. A scientist at the Natural History Museum in London, Vincent Fernandez, stated that apart from the European Synchroton there is no other existing machine that can provide humanity with such impressive details about the enigma of these remarkable fossils.
By analyzing the 3D scan, the researchers were able to determine that the dinosaurs developed in eggs, bearing a resemblance to their relatives, the reptiles. What is even more impressive is that 200 million years have passed, and the evolution of the skull in snakes has remained almost the same. The team’s future goal is to make use of this method to discover the level of development in other dinosaurs.