Scientists found 92 nests and 256 fossilized dinosaur eggs at an archaeological site in India, according to a study published January 18, 2022, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Harsha Dhiman of the University of Delhi, New Delhi and colleagues.
According to the researchers, these eggs would be from titanosaurs and will help to know how these animals reproduced
These objects, which measure between 5 and 17 centimetres in diameter, were found in the Lameta Formation in the Narmada Valley, Madhya Pradesh. Researchers previously identified that there were three species of titanosaurs, but six different species are in the making.
A team of researchers from New Delhi has found a trove of discovered fossil nests. The discovery in India of a total of 92 nests and 256 fossilized dinosaur eggs in all suggests a series of as-yet-undiscovered dinosaurs belonging to the titanosaur group and provides clues as to how these animals reproduced.
The fossil eggs were found in the Lameta Formation in the Narmada Valley of central India, a sequence of rock layers known to contain fossils of huge, long-necked dinosaurs called titanosaurs.
Palaeontologists had previously identified three species of titanosaurs but propose that there could be as many as six distinct species in this formation that, in the heyday of the dinosaurs, this part of western India was more of a wet, swampy lowland dotted with small lakes.
The authors identified six different species of eggs, implying a greater diversity of titanosaurs than previously known for this region. The team deduced from the nest layout that these dinosaurs buried their eggs in shallow pits, similar to today’s crocodiles. And there aren’t many fossil records of juvenile bones in the region, suggesting that the babies fled the nest soon after birth.
The Fossil Egg Hatchery is located in a geological formation that is home to many fossilized dinosaur eggs and skeletons from the Late Cretaceous Period.
“Our research has revealed the presence of an extensive roster of titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs in the study area and offers new insights into the nest preservation conditions and reproductive strategies of titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs just before they went extinct,” explains Harsha Dhiman, lead author of the study.
Titanosaur fossils have been found on every continent except Antarctica and include about 40 species.
All about titanosaurs
Titanosaurs were a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs (characterized by large size, a long neck and tail, four-legged posture, and a herbivorous diet, and were the largest of all dinosaurs) dinosaurs that lived from the Late Jurassic Epoch ( 163.5 million to 145 million years ago) to the end of the Cretaceous Period (145 million to 66 million years ago), and were the largest land animals known to have walked the Earth’s surface.
Some titanosaurs were as big as modern whales. About 40 species of titanosaurs have been identified, with fossils discovered on every continent except Antarctica.
The researchers carried out investigations between 2017 and 2020 and found extensive dinosaur breeding grounds in the Bagh and Kukshi areas of the Dhar district, in the villages of Akhada, Dholiya Raipuriya, Jhaba, Jamniapura and Padlya. Experts are working towards Unesco Global Geopark status for the area to pave the way for further study.
How many species of eggs were identified?
The authors identified six different egg species (oospecies), suggesting a greater diversity of titanosaurs than represented by skeletal remains from this region.
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