October 2, 2009 weblog
Hundreds of dinosaur nests found in India
(PhysOrg.com) -- Geologists have discovered hundreds of fossilized nests each containing clutches of eight dinosaur eggs. The eggs were located in sand banks in Tamil Nadu in Southern India.
Geologist Dr M.U. Ramkumar of Periyar University said the eggs may be around 65 million years old. They were all spherical and measured five to eight inches (13 to 20 cm) in diameter. The nests were around four feet (1.2 m) in diameter. Some of the eggs were believed to be of Carnosaurs, which were aggressive predators, while others were Sauropods, which were large, long-necked herbivores.
Fossils of Carnosaurs and Sauropods have previously been found in the area around the Sendurai village in the central district of Ariyalur in Southern India, according to a report on the find in The Times of India. The site is a well-known area containing fossils up to 140 million years old. The first dinosaur eggs were discovered there in 1860 by a British geologist, while another was found in the 1990s at a nearby factory.
The nests were buried under volcanic ash believed to have come from the Deccan Trap eruptions. These eruptions were among the biggest ever, and produced lava flows hundreds of miles long and enormous volumes of climate-changing gases, which may have caused the widespread extinctions of dinosaurs that occurred at the time.
The scientists were astonished to find what they called a treasure trove of fossilized eggs while they were selecting an excavation site over an ancient river bed in research jointly funded by India and Germany. As they dug, they discovered the nests in several layers.
The find is the largest number of dinosaur eggs ever found in India. All the eggs were unhatched and were infertile.
The site has been fenced off to discourage vandalism, and Dr Ramkumar and colleagues have called on Indian state and federal governments to protect the find. Samples of the fossilized eggs have been sent to Germany for further research.
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