Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Egg shape changes at the theropod-bird transition, and a morphometric study of amniote eggs

Citation

Deeming, D. Charles; Ruta, Marcello (2015), Data from: Egg shape changes at the theropod-bird transition, and a morphometric study of amniote eggs, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s9227

Abstract

The eggs of amniotes exhibit a remarkable variety of shapes, from spherical to elongate and from symmetrical to asymmetrical. We examine eggshell geometry in a diverse sample of fossil and living amniotes using geometric morphometrics and linear measurements. Our goal is to quantify patterns of morphospace occupation and shape variation in the eggs of recent through to Mesozoic birds (neornithe plus non-neornithe avialans), as well as in eggs attributed to non-avialan theropods. In most amniotes, eggs show significant deviation from sphericity, but departure from symmetry around the equatorial axis is mostly confined to theropods and birds. Mesozoic bird eggs differ significantly from extant bird eggs, but extinct Cenozoic bird eggs do not. This suggests that the range of egg shapes in extant birds had already been attained in the Cenozoic. We conclude with a discussion of possible biological factors imparting variation to egg shapes during their formation in the oviduct.

Usage Notes