Palaeontology: parental care in an ornithischian dinosaur

Nature. 2004 Sep 9;431(7005):145-6. doi: 10.1038/431145a.


Crocodilians and birds show extensive parental care of their young, but whether this behaviour evolved independently in these two groups of living archosaurs is unknown - in part because features of parenting among related fossil groups such as dinosaurs are unclear. A dramatic specimen of the small ornithischian dinosaur Psittacosaurus sp. (Dalian Natural History Museum D2156) from Liaoning in China reveals a single adult clustered with 34 juveniles within an area of 0.5 square metres, providing strong evidence for post-hatching parental care in Dinosauria.

MeSH terms

  • Alligators and Crocodiles / physiology
  • Animals
  • Birds / physiology
  • Dinosaurs / anatomy & histology
  • Dinosaurs / physiology*
  • Fossils*
  • Nesting Behavior / physiology*
  • Parenting