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Paper Code  
Title   An Early Cretaceous enantiornithine (Aves) preserving an unlaid egg and probable medullary bone
Authors   Alida M. Bailleul
Corresponding Author   Alida M. Bailleul
Year   2019
Title of Journal   Nature Communications
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Abstract   Understanding non-crown dinosaur reproduction is hindered by a paucity of directly associated adults with reproductive traces. Here we describe a new enantiornithine, Avimaia schweitzerae gen. et sp. nov., from the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation with an unlaid egg two-dimensionally preserved within the abdominothoracic cavity. Ground-sections reveal abnormal eggshell proportions, and multiple eggshell layers best interpreted as a multi-layered egg resulting from prolonged oviductal retention. Fragments of the shell membrane and cuticle are both preserved. SEM reveals that the cuticle consists of nanostructures resembling those found in neornithine eggs adapted for infection-prone environments, which are hypothesized to represent the ancestral avian condition. The femur preserves small amounts of probable medullary bone, a tissue found today only in reproductively active female birds. To our knowledge, no other occurrence of Mesozoic medullary bone is associated with indications of reproductive activity, such as a preserved egg, making our identification unique, and strongly supported.
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Full Text Link   https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09259-xhttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09259-x
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