YOUNG female dinosaurs could barely wait to start having sex, if the recently discovered bones of adolescent females are anything to go by. The bones reveal reproduction started before the animals were full-grown, a trait not seen in birds--the dinosaurs' closest living relatives. The finding adds to evidence that adolescence was the prime of dinosaur life.
The insight comes from medullary bone, a calcium-rich tissue that female birds form as a calcium reserve during egg-laying, which had also been identified in a leg bone of Tyrannosaurus rex. Now Andrew Lee and Sarah Werning at the University of California, Berkeley, have found medullary tissue in two more dinosaurs: the predator Allosaurus and the plant-eating Tenontosaurus (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073 pnas.0708903105).
The tenontosaur was 8, the allosaur 10, and the T. rex 18 years old. All three were adolescents too young to have reached their full growth, showing that dinosaur reproduction differed markedly from that of their avian descendants.
Source Citation:"Dinosaur teens were hot to trot.(Brief article)." New Scientist 197.2639 (Jan 19, 2008): 16(1). InfoTrac Information Science & Library Issues eCollection. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 18 May 2009
(Album / Profile) http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10031&id=1661531726&l=cf90f7df9c