Mother’s Day Dinosaurs

The Google doodle for the UK and Ireland today is a pair of dinosaurs (we think).  The doodle has been put up in honour of Mother’s Day and the painting represents one child’s view of a mother dinosaur with its baby.  At least to us, who spend a lot of the time looking at dinosaurs, this is what the drawing resembles.

Google Doodle Dinosaurs

Google Doodle - dinosaurs.

Google Doodle March 11th 2018 for Mother’s Day.

Picture Credit: Google

Do Armoured Dinosaurs Make Good Parents?

Whether or not the non-avian dinosaurs made good parents is a topic often debated amongst palaeontologists.  Like their close relatives, the birds, non-avian dinosaurs probably adopted a range of strategies when it came to looking after their young.  Nesting sites discovered in the United States strongly suggest that Maiasaura, (M. peeblesorum), a Late Cretaceous Hadrosaur, fed their young and looked after them, whilst other types of dinosaur probably adopted different behaviours.

To read our post about “Good Mother Lizard”: Maiasaura and Marsh

An Illustration of a Maiasaura and Young

Maiasaura drawing.

The person in the picture provides a scale so the size of this dinosaur can be estimated.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fossils of very young Maiasaura indicate that these dinosaurs were not capable of leaving their nest and that they were dependent on the adult animals to feed them.  At the other end of what is a spectrum, precocial animals are born ready to lead much more independent lives.  Precocial young are able to leave the nest shortly after birth/hatching and are capable of feeding themselves.  As for evidence of armoured dinosaurs and their behaviour with regards to bringing up baby, the evidence is less substantial.  However, a number of young individuals of armoured dinosaurs have been found in a single bone bed.  The fossils come from an armoured dinosaur known from northern China (Inner Mongolia), called Pinacosaurus (P. grangeri).  If these young Pinacosaurus died together, it does suggest that these animals lived in social groups.  This may have implications for parenting behaviour.

Late Cretaceous Northern China

China - Late Cretaceous

Late Cretaceous China.  Pinacosaurus can be seen in the foreground.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

Team members at Everything Dinosaur also recall coming across a research paper that reported upon the discovery of an adult armoured dinosaur and a juvenile being found together.  Although, it is difficult to interpret the exact circumstances, the fossils could represent an adult and offspring having perished together.

An Armoured Dinosaur Themed Artwork on Display in School

Stegosaurus artwork in school.

How many hands?

Picture Credit: Bamford Academy Foundation Stage

On this Mothering Sunday, it is fitting to consider whether dinosaurs were altricial or precocial.  It is likely, that just like birds, the Dinosauria exhibited a number of behaviours.

A “Handy” Illustration of a Monster Created by School Children

Hands inspire artwork in school.

A “handy” way to create a prehistoric animal in the classroom.

Picture Credit: Feversham Primary

Happy Mother’s Day.

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