One of the largest dinosaur hatcheries on Earth discovered in India
In a recent study led by the University of Delhi, 92 fossil nests from some of India's most enormous dinosaurs, titanosaurs, have been discovered.
The uncovering of more than 250 preserved eggs offers detailed data about the lives of titanosaurs in the Indian subcontinent, according to a press release released today (Jan .18).
How did titanosaurs reproduce?
Dinosaur bones and eggs from the Late Cretaceous Period (100.5 million years ago - 66 million years ago) are well known to exist in a group of rocks called the Lameta Formation in the Narmada Valley of central India.
The authors identified six different egg species (oospecies), implying a greater diversity of titanosaurs than previously known for this region. The team deduced from the layout of the nests that these dinosaurs buried their eggs in shallow pits, similar to modern-day crocodiles.
Certain pathologies discovered in the eggs, such as a rare case of "egg-in-egg," suggest that titanosaur sauropods had a reproductive physiology similar to that of birds and may have laid their eggs sequentially, as seen in modern birds.
What else do the egg nests reveal about titanosaurs?
While, it remains the case that determining the specifics about dinosaur reproductive behaviors, the fossil nests, which date from just before the dinosaur era ended, do take scientists one step closer.
“Our research has revealed the presence of an extensive hatchery of titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs in the study area and offers new insights into the conditions of nest preservation and reproductive strategies of titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs just before they went extinct,” said Harsha Dhiman, the lead author of the study.
“Together with dinosaur nests from Jabalpur in the upper Narmada valley in the east and those from Balasinor in the west, the new nesting sites from Dhar District in Madhya Pradesh (Central India), covering an east-west stretch of about 1000 kilometers (km), constitute one of the largest dinosaur hatcheries in the world,” Guntupalli V.R. Prasad, co-author, and leader of the research team added.
The study was published today in PLOS ONE.
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