140 years ago, an agate specimen from India was registered successful the Mineralogy Collection astatine London’s Natural History Museum. Now, a squad of researchers accidental the suspiciously spherical agate formed wrong a 60-million-year-old dinosaur egg.
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The agatized ovum apt belonged to a titanosaur, which were communal successful what is present India during the Cretaceous. (Earlier this year, nearly 100 titanosaur nests successful India were comprehensively identified and documented.)
Robin Hansen, a mineral curator astatine the museum, brought the specimen to Paul Barrett and Susannah Maidment, some dinosaur experts astatine the museum. The radical agreed that the agate was astir the close signifier and size to beryllium a dinosaur ovum and noted that outer texture of the mineral was akin to the texture of an egg. Furthermore, the outer edges of the specimen suggested that other, likewise shaped objects were erstwhile abutting the 6-inch-wide agate—like a clutch of dinosaur eggs.
‘This specimen is simply a cleanable illustration of wherefore depository collections are truthful important,” Hansen said successful an NHM release. “It was identified and cataloged correctly arsenic an agate successful 1883 utilizing the technological cognition disposable astatine the clip ... It is lone present that we person recognized that this specimen has thing other special—the agate has infilled this spherical structure, which turns retired to beryllium a dinosaur egg.”
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Despite being the largest onshore animals to ever live, titanosaurs laid eggs that weren’t peculiarly massive. That’s apt due to the fact that the animals produced clutches of respective twelve eggs, alternatively than a azygous (larger) offspring with each idiosyncratic cycle. That’s not wholly surprising, arsenic the second is simply a wont among mammalian megafauna, portion reptilian megafauna instrumentality to the egg-clutch exemplary of reproduction.
According to the depository release, it’s imaginable that the agatized ovum formed owed to volcanic enactment successful the region: Shortly aft the eggs were laid, a volcanic eruption whitethorn person covered the clutch, and h2o affluent with silicates whitethorn person leached into the preserved eggshells, forming the agate.
This singular fossil specimen is thing of a deluxe mentation of ammolite mollusk shells, which go iridescent nether circumstantial fossilization circumstances.
More: Beautifully Preserved Dinosaur Embryo Spotted successful Fossilized Egg