Briana Hansen
January 03, 2017 1:53 pm
Universal Pictures

Of course, we’ll never really know exactly why dinosaurs no longer roam the earth. But it’s always fascinating to learn more about them. And it seems like every day there are new studies that give major insight into these giant beasts who used to rule our planet.

A new study shows that maybe dinosaurs themselves may have contributed to their own demise.

According to a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dinosaur eggs took a surprisingly long time to hatch. While that may not seem like a groundbreaking finding, it actually is.

Because dinosaur eggs took significantly longer to hatch than some of their counterparts, they were at an evolutionary disadvantage.

These researchers compared the gestation period of birds (aka “living dinosaurs”) to those of the dinosaurs. Until recently, they assumed that both egg-laying species had similar periods of time before their babies hatched. But, as it turns out, dinosaurs likely took a lot longer to hatch than their flying counterparts.

Thanks to two well-preserved embryos, it seems that dinosaurs took between three and six months to hatch – maybe even longer.

Compare that to the average 11 to 85 days it takes for a bird’s egg to hatch and you can see how that’s pretty shocking.

In a controlled environment, that gestation period isn’t a big deal. So, if you’re worried about how this would affect any plans you have for a real-life Jurassic Park in the future, don’t be.

But back when dinosaurs lived, the earth was a lot more volatile than it is right now.

It’s harder to protect eggs than it is living, moving little creatures. So in a world where there are constant earthquakes, floods, droughts, and volcanoes exploding, these eggs are a lot more vulnerable to constant environmental threats.

Basically, an asteroid likely did wipe out huge portions of the population. And the constant volcanic eruptions probably did cause a large amount of toxicity that made it hard to live. But the long gestation period of these eggs themselves meant that it was hard to repopulate the earth and protect the species since there was just so much chaos all around.