Monday, January 19, 2015

[Paleontology • 2014] Post-natal Parental Care in A Cretaceous Diapsid from northeastern China

adult Philydrosaurus surrounded by juveniles
Illustration: Zhao Chuang
DOI: 10.1007/s12303-014-0047-1

Post-natal parental care seems to have evolved numerous times in vertebrates. Among extant amniotes, it is present in crocodilians, birds, and mammals. However, evidence of this behavior is extremely rare in the fossil record and is only reported for two types of dinosaurs, and a varanopid ‘pelycosaur’. Here we report new evidence for post-natal parental care in Philydrosaurus, a choristodere, from the Yixian Formation of western Liaoning Province, China. We review the fossil record of reproduction in choristoderes, and this represents the oldest record of post-natal parental care in diapsids to our knowledge.

Keywords: parental care, choristodera, diapsid, Cretaceous

Fig. 1. Photograph (a) and line drawings (b) of Philydrosaurus (JPM-10-088).
 1: adult; 2‒7: juveniles (see text for diagnosis).
Abbreviations: dr – dorsal rib; f – femur; fi – fibula; h – humerus; nk – neck; sk – skull; ti – tibia. Grey areas were exposed during its preparation, demonstrating that all skeletons are from a single horizon. Scale bar = 5 cm.

The living scene of the adult Philydrosaurus and its babies (JPM-10-088)
Illustration: Zhao Chuang

Junchang Lü, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, D. Charles Deeming and Yongqing Liu. 2014. Post-natal Parental Care in A Cretaceous Diapsid from northeastern China.
Geosciences Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s12303-014-0047-1