Reassessing the endemic European Upper Cretaceous dinosaur egg Cairanoolithus
The fossil record of dinosaur eggs and eggshells from the uppermost Cretaceous strata of south-western Europe is composed of both worldwide-distributed and endemic egg types. In this study, we are reviewing the enigmatic European oogenus Cairanoolithus, which after analysing abundant material from classic and new localities it is reassigned to a new oofamily (Cairanoolithidae oofam. nov.) in the light of the unique combination of structural characters. The new oofamily includes one oogenus and two oospecies. Cairanoolithid eggs share several features with other ornithopod egg types indeed. Furthermore, our phylogenetic analysis places Cairanoolithus as the sister ootaxon of the ornithopod ootaxa, being considered the most basal ornithischian egg type known so far. Although neither embryonic nor bones remains are known in association with cairanoolithid eggs so far, several taxonomic attributions have been proposed for this egg type over time. On the basis of microstructural features, phylogenetic results ...