Dinosaur dads played an active role in raising their young and often served as single parents, according to a study published Friday in the journal Science.
The researchers examined bones belonging to eight different dinosaurs that were fossilized in "brooding postures" near clutches of eggs. None of them included medullary bone, a form of bone tissue found in female birds and some female dinosaurs that is mined for calcium when they lay eggs, the researchers reported.
The team, led by paleontologist David J. Varricchio of Montana State University in Bozeman, also looked for signs that calcium or phosphorus had been leached from the bones -- a side effect of the egg-laying process -- and found none.
One of the fossils, belonging to an adult Troodon formosus, was found "in direct contact with an egg clutch," the researchers wrote. Troodon egg clutches can be so large that experts have surmised the dinosaurs formed communal nests.