Fossil discovery from Central India elucidates reproductive biology of Sauropod dinosaurs 

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Field photograph and microscopic images of the eggshells | Photo: Scientific Reports/

An abnormal titanosaurid dinosaur egg was discovered from the Bagh area in Dhar in Madhya Pradesh by a team of Indian researchers. Under the title “First ovum-in-ovo pathological titanosaurid egg throws light on the reproductive biology of sauropod dinosaurs”, the findings has been published in the latest issue of Scientific Reports, a Nature Group journal.

The Upper Cretaceous Lameta Formation of Central India is long known for its dinosaur fossils. The researchers came across one abnormal egg that merits special attention of the scientific community while studying the titanosaurid sauropod nests excavated near the village Padlya lying close to Bagh town in Dhar. Along with the abnormal egg, the team found a sauropod dinosaur nest consisting of 10 eggs from here.

The abnormal egg displays two continuous and circular eggshell layers separated by a wide gap. Until this new find from India, no egg-in-egg abnormal fossil egg was found in dinosaurs and for that matter in other reptiles like turtles, lizards, and crocodiles. Earlier, it was suggested that dinosaurs had a reproductive function similar to that of turtles and other reptiles, in contrast to segmented reproductive tract of crocodiles. The lead author of the paper Dr. Harsha Dhiman from the University of Delhi commented that “the finding of ovum-in-ovo egg from a titanosaurid nest opens up the possibility that sauropod dinosaurs had an oviduct morphology similar to those of crocodiles or birds and they may have adapted to a mode of egg-laying characteristic of birds”

“The new pathological egg is a rare and important find as no ovum-in-ovo egg was found in reptiles until now and as it brings out significant information on whether dinosaurs had a reproductive biology similar to that of turtles and lizards or their immediate cousins crocodiles and birds” says Prof. Guntupalli V.R. Prasad from the University of Delhi who is the corresponding author of the published article.

The new find highlights the fact that central and western India hold great potential for dinosaur fossils which may offer important information on dinosaur oospecies diversity, nesting behaviour and reproductive biology.

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