Delhi University researchers discover Rare dinosaur 'egg-in-egg in MP

“Egg-in-Egg” Phenomenon: A team of researchers from the University of Delhi (DU) has discovered a unique set of fossilized dinosaur eggs with ovum-in-ovo (one egg inside another egg) in Madhya Pradesh which is probably the first time in the fossil history.

Key Highlights:

  • The Ovum-in-ovo (one egg inside another egg) was found at the Dinosaur Fossil National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
  • The rare phenomenon of eggs-within-eggs is far known to occur only in birds so far and has never been known in reptiles until now.
  • This discovery brings out newer connections between reptilian and avian evolution.
  • The findings have been published in the latest issue of the journal Scientific Reports.

What did the scientists discover?

  • The Upper Cretaceous Lametta Formation of Central India is long known for its dinosaur fossils  (both skeletal and egg remains).
  • Researchers, in this region, have recently discovered 52 titanosaurid dinosaur nests at the Dinosaur Fossil National Park in Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh.
  • One of these Sauropod dinosaur nests consisted of 10 eggs, including the abnormal egg which had two continuous and circular eggshell layers separated by a wide gap reminiscent of ovum-in-ovo (one egg inside another egg) pathology of birds.
  • 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.

Significance of this discovery:

  • The eggs-within-eggs are rare phenomenon.
  • Until this discovery, no egg-in-egg fossil egg was found in dinosaurs and other reptiles such as turtles, lizards and crocodiles.
  • This discovery brings out newer connections between reptilian and avian evolution.
  • The recent discovery highlights the potential for dinosaur fossils in central and western India, which may provide crucial details on the diversity of dinosaur species, nesting behaviour, and reproductive biology.

About Titanosaurs:

  • Titanosaurs (or titanosaurians; members of the group Titanosauria) were a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, including genera from all seven continents.
  • The family of Sauropod dinosaurs, which includes some of the biggest terrestrial animals ever to have existed, was widely distributed millions of years ago in the region that is now India.
  • Fossils of these animals have been found in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and in Meghalaya as well.