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Newly discovered embryo fossils illustrate the pterosaur's early life

Pterosaur egg fossils at the site in China. Photo: Alexander Kellner / Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Scientists have discovered a site in China that once served as a nesting ground for pterosaurs — the flying reptiles of the dinosaur age. They recovered more than 200 egg fossils, 16 of which show pterosaur embryos and provide a host of new insights into the ancient creature's early life, per a paper published today in the journal Science.

Why it matters: There is very little existing evidence about pterosaur hatchlings, Michael Habib, a paleontologist from the University of Southern California who was not involved in the study, told Axios. "We don't know what the babies looked like of most animals in the fossil record." The newly-discovered fossils provide details about how young pterosaurs developed and how their mothers nested.