Faculty of Veterinary Science: Research article about Dinosaurs published in the prestigious journal, Nature

Posted on June 07, 2013

During the last few years he started to collaborate more with paleontologists. His understanding and in-depth knowledge of crocodilian anatomy, obviously, helped to explain some of the paleontological findings. The fossils discovered in China with reproductive organs were the first of its kind, revealing new clues regarding bird-like dinosaur reproduction. The identification of the mature ovarian follicles allowed a rare opportunity to confidently identify the gender of these animals. The consistent preservation of the follicles on the left side of the body suggested that the right functional ovaries were lost during the dinosaur-avian transition period.

Another interesting conclusion was about the timing of sexual maturation. In crocodilians, reproduction has an early onset, before the animal reaches skeletal maturity. Most modern birds grow rapidly, typically reaching skeletal maturity within 1 year, although not typically becoming sexually mature until later (2-8 years; only 6 months in the domestic chicken). However, the paravian dinosaurs revealed a more crocodilian-like pattern of reaching sexual maturity before skeletal maturity.

A large number of scientific projects at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, focusing on the Nile crocodile, was initiated by Dr Huchzermeyer’s energetic enthusiasm for these living dinosaurs. 

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences