Sacajawea Audubon

February Program – Dinosaur Eggs & Origins of Avian Reproduction

Paleontologist David Varrichhio will speak on "Dinosaur Eggs and Origins of Avian Reproduction" at the Sacajawea Audubon Society's meeting on February 13th. Dinosaur eggs come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes, and arrangements. They show strange surface textures and unusual internal structures. The richest dinosaur egg deposits are from China but dinosaur eggs are now known from around the world. Unfortunately, most eggs remain unidentified to a specific dinosaur.  Nevertheless, by studying eggs in the field and through careful laboratory work, scientists have come to understand nesting behavior in a few dinosaurs. Many reproductive features that distinguish birds among living animals had their evolutionary origins in carnivorous dinosaurs like Troodon. Recent studies suggest an unexpected system of parental care in Troodon and perhaps even the first birds.

David Varricchio is a professor of paleontology at Montana State University. In college he studied both geology and paleontology. Working with Jack Horner, he earned his doctorate at Montana State University. His research combines geologic fieldwork with anatomy to address questions on dinosaur paleobiology. Ongoing work includes reproduction in theropod dinosaurs and its significance for bird evolution, burrowing in small herbivorous dinosaurs, and dinosaur social behavior. He has participated in fieldwork in the Sahara, Argentina, Inner Mongolia, Yunnan and throughout the American West.

The Sacajawea Audubon Society meets the second Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m., at the Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 W. Graf Street (off of South 19th), Bozeman. Audubon invites the public to attend its meetings and participate in its field trips, listed on the chapter's website at

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