Rare ‘egg-in-egg’ dinosaur found in MP

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NEW DELHI,

A TEAM of researchers from the University of Delhi has discovered an ‘egg-in-egg’ dinosaur egg from Madhya Pradesh in what is likely the first time in fossil history, a statement said.

According to the researchers, the discovery is a “rare and important finding” because no “ovule in ovo” eggs have been found in reptiles so far. The results were published in the latest issue of the journal Scientific Reports.

The anomalous titanosaurid dinosaur egg was discovered in the Bagh area of ​​MP’s Dhar district and could provide important insights into whether dinosaurs had a reproductive biology similar to

that of turtles and lizards, or crocodiles and birds, their immediate cousins, they said.

The Upper Cretaceous Lameta Formation of central India has long been known for the discovery of dinosaur fossils (remains of skeletons and eggs). The authors documented a large number of titanosaurid sauropod nests near the village of Padlya near the town of Bagh.

While studying these nests, the researchers came across an “abnormal egg”. The research team found a sauropod dinosaur nest consisting of 10 eggs, including the abnormal egg which had two continuous, circular eggshell layers separated by a wide gap reminiscent of ovum in ovo pathology (a egg in another egg) of the birds, read the declaration .

The microstructure of the pathological egg as well as that of an adjacent egg in the same nest identified it with that of titanosaurid sauropod dinosaurs. Until this discovery, no abnormal egg-in-egg fossil eggs have been found in dinosaurs and for that matter in other reptiles like turtles, lizards and crocodiles, he said.

In the past, dinosaurs have been suggested to have a reproductive function similar to that of turtles and other reptiles, unlike the segmented reproductive tract of crocodiles and birds with separate regions of membrane and shell deposition, according to the press release.

Although crocodiles have distinct regions of shell membrane and mineralized shell deposition, they ovulate and release all eggs simultaneously like turtles and other reptiles, as opposed to the sequential ovulation of birds, which lay an egg at the times, he added.

“The discovery of ovum eggs in the ovum of a titanosaurid nest opens up the possibility that sauropod dinosaurs had an oviduct morphology similar to that of crocodiles or birds and that they adapted to a mode egg-laying characteristic of birds,” said DU researcher Dr Harsha Dhiman, lead author of the paper.

Professor Guntupalli VR Prasad, who is the corresponding author of the published paper, agrees with his colleague.

“The new pathological egg is a rare and important finding because no ovum in ovo eggs have been found in reptiles so far and because it provides important insight into whether dinosaurs had reproductive biology. similar to that of turtles and lizards or their immediate cousins ​​crocodiles and birds,” he added.

The new discovery highlights that central and western India holds great potential for dinosaur fossils that can offer important insights into dinosaur species diversity, nesting behavior and the biology of dinosaurs. reproduction, according to the release.

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