Embryology, reproductive behaviour, parental care, and growth in Early Jurassic Dinosaurs from China and South Africa

Event Date: 
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Event Location: 
RB 1042

Abstract: The oldest known eggs and embryos are those of dinosaurs, laid more than 110 million years after vertebrates ventured for the first time onto land. Dinosaur embryos are known from the Early Jurassic (195 Ma) of China in a so-called bonebed as a concentration of disarticulated bones, and in South Africa inside eggs in a nesting site. These embryonic remains belong to the sauropodomorph dinosaurs Lufengosaurus and Massospondylus, animals that reached 6-10m in length and were the precursors of the giant sauropods. The combination of embryos, eggs, nests, hatchlings, and adults of these two closely related dinosaurs allows us to reconstruct in great detail their embryonic and hatchling life, as well as their growth to adulthood. Interesting facts about these early dinosaurs will be revealed during my talk, including how they grew inside their eggs, what they did after they hatched, and how we were able to uncover these secrets from the dawn of the age of dinosaurs.


About the Speaker

Robert Reisz is a leading authority on the initial stages of terrestrial vertebrate evolution and the organisms that eventually gave rise to living mammals, reptiles, and birds. He has studied early reptiles and their amphibian relatives globally, examining the initial stages of the invasion of land by limbed vertebrates. He has also explored other crucial events in vertebrate evolution, like the early stages of dinosaur evolution, and dinosaur embryology. His research results  more than 170 refereed papers, including more than a dozen publications in the journals Nature and Science.

He has been at University of Toronto for 40 years, and is currently Vice-Dean Graduate, and Distinguished Professor of Paleontology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He also holds research associate positions in 6 major natural history museums, distinguished professorships in other universities, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Professor Reisz’s discoveries and field work have been widely featured in textbooks, scientific magazines, and have been popularized and disseminated to the lay public globally through numerous interviews on national and international media.