Dont tell mom the babysitters dead.
  • Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Don't tell mom the babysitter's dead.

Today's news: dinosaur babysitter!

Analysis of a group of Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis fossils suggest that one dino in the group was providing daycare:

A new examination of a rock slab containing fossils of 24 very young dinosaurs and one older individual is suggestive of a group of hatchlings overseen by a caretaker, according to a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers.

The specimen was discovered by amateur paleontologists in China’s Liaoning Province. A 2004 paper on the specimen suggested it may be a nest, but researchers Brandon P. Hedrick and Peter Dodson suspected there might be more to it:

Given the close association of the young P. lujiatunensis with the older individual, however, Dodson, Hedrick and colleagues believe this specimen may offer evidence of post-hatchling cooperation, a behavior exhibited by some species of modern-day birds. The older juvenile may well have been a big brother or sister helping care for its younger siblings.

The researchers emphasize that they can’t definitively call this assemblage of fossils a nest, as some earlier analyses have.

Go read more on the U Penn web site, or read the abstract in the journal Cretaceous Research.

Thanks, Slog-tipper Jeremy, who now knows the truth about dino-sitters.

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