A nest of fossilized dinosaur eggs have been found in Brazil that would have hatched into vicious carnivores 60 million to 80 million years ago if the eggs were not buried by loose sediment.
The five eggs, which are well-preserved were originally believed to be ancient crocodile eggs – fossilized faeces belonging to crocodylomorph was previously uncovered at the site.
After deeper analysis by a team of palaeontologists led by William Roberto Nava, the eggs were determined to be larger and have a thicker shell than those from a crocodylomorph, according to g1.
Nava, who is responsible for most of the finds, at the Paleontological Museum in Marilia, told g1 that the dinosaur eggs measure four to five inches long and two to three inches wide, while the ancient crocodiles’ egg is typically no longer than three inches.
He further explained that the shell of fossilized crocodylomorph eggs is a porous or smooth texture, while those from the dinosaur have a ‘ripple-shaped’ texture.
A litter of fossilized dinosaur eggs have been found in Brazil that would have hatched into vicious carnivores 60 million to 80 million years ago if the eggs were not buried by loose sediment
‘They look like little wavy earthworms, which differs from the texture of the crocodile,’ he told g1.
The dinosaur eggs, which were uncovered in the city of Presidente Prudente, in the interior of São Paulo, were preserved by the soil transforming into sandstone over time.
The material acts as a natural protector, forming several layers of sand over millions of years that have protected the eggs until palaeontologists recently pulled them from the ground last year – it wasn’t until this month did they determine the eggs came from a dinosaur.
Nava told g1: ‘ Who knows if in one of these [five] eggs we have a fossilized embryo. It would be super cool, it would be something new for Brazil.’
The statement was highlighting the discovery of an exquisitely preserved dinosaur embryo found in China. The embryo, dubbed ‘Baby Yingliang, was found curled up inside a fossilized egg and was found in the rocks of the ‘Hekou Formation’ at the Shahe Industrial Park in Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province.
The specimen is one of the most complete dino embryos known and notably sports a posture closer to those seen in embryonic birds than usually found in dinosaurs. Specifically, Baby Yingliang was close to hatching, and had its head below its body, its back curled into the egg’s blunt end and its feet positioned on either side of it.
The eggs were preserved by the soil transforming into sandstone over time
Palaeontologists led from the University of Birmingham said that Baby Yingliang belonged to species of toothless, beaked theropod dinosaurs, or ‘oviraptorosaurs’.
Baby Yingliang takes its nickname from the Yingliang Stone Nature History Museum in Xiamen, among whose fossil collections it is held.
The researchers believe that the embryonic oviraptorosaur would have been some 10.6 inches (27 cm) from head to tail, but was developing curled inside a 6.7 inch (17 cm) -long egg.
‘This dinosaur embryo was acquired by the director of Yingliang Group, Mr Liang Liu, as suspected egg fossils around the year 2000,’ said paper author and palaeontologist Lida Xing of the China University of Geosciences in Beijing.
‘During the construction of Yingliang Stone Nature History Museum in the 2010s, museum staff sorted through the storage and discovered the specimens.
‘These specimens were identified as dinosaur egg fossils. Fossil preparation was conducted and eventually unveiled the embryo hidden inside the egg.
‘This is how ‘Baby Yingliang’ was brought to light.’