The sex lives of pterosaurs, featuring art by Mark Witton

Is anyone else getting seriously excited about Mark Witton’s forthcoming book on pterosaurs? We previously featured a sneak peek from the book and I just ran across this post at Tetrapod Zoology which features even more of Witton’s artwork.

So what’s the occasion for this article? It turns out Junchang Lü, David Unwin and colleagues have discovered

An adult pterosaur skeleton, poised as if ‘caught in the act’ of laying an egg [the specimen is shown below: image courtesy of Junchang Lü, Institute of Geology, Beijing, used with permission]. As usual with fossil mothers preserved in the act of parturition, it seems likely that the egg was pushed out of the body during decomposition: the mother wasn’t really laying an egg when she died (though this does, admittedly, remain a possibility).

Click over to read a fascinating account of this discovery and to admire two lovely illustrations from Witton whose book with Princeton University Press is due to publish in the summer of 2012.