Dinosaur eggs filled with cannonball-sized crystals have been discovered in China by paleontologists.
According to an article published in the Review of paleogeography. The eggs were also filled with clusters of calcite crystals.
“Here we describe two recently discovered dinosaur eggs from the Late Cretaceous Chishan Formation in the Qianshan Basin, Anhui Province, East China,” the paper’s authors wrote.
“New oospecies Shixingoolithus qianshanensis represents the first discovery of oogenus Shixingoolithus of the Qianshan Basin. S.qianshanensis also provides new paleontological evidence for the identification, division and correlation of Upper Cretaceous and Lower Paleocene strata in the Qianshan Basin, Anhui Province, eastern China,” the journal said. .
As with modern reptiles and birds, most dinosaurs are thought to reproduce by laying eggs. Determining which species of dinosaur laid the eggs is difficult because the embryo inside is almost never preserved, according to the American Museum of Natural History. Therefore, other egg properties such as size, shape, and mineral structure are used to classify dinosaur eggs into oospecies.
“Late Cretaceous dinosaur eggs from China are characterized by prodigious quantities, abundant types, and wide distribution. About 16 oofamilies and 35 oogeni have been reported from China,” the paper’s authors write.
In addition to a variety of dinosaur eggs, a range of dinosaur fossils and footprints have been found across China. In Liaoning Province, more than 60 species of plants, nearly 90 species of vertebrates and about 300 species of invertebrates have been identified, thanks to the region’s unique geological characteristics, according to National geographic.
“Due to the effects of weathering, the outermost part of eggshells and the corresponding secondary eggshell units are not preserved in newly discovered Qianshan dinosaur eggs,” the authors wrote.
One of the eggs is damaged, revealing the crystallized calcite inside.
According to a 2014 article published in the journal Cretaceous research, Shixingoolithus The eggs may have hatched into ornithopods, which were herbivorous dinosaurs that walked on two legs and measured between 6 and 30 feet from head to tail.
These eggs are thought to date to the Upper Cretaceous and Lower Paleocene era. The dinosaur species that laid them down was likely wiped out during the Late Cretaceous extinction event triggered by the impact of the asteroid Chicxulub 66 million years ago.
“The asteroid hit at high speed and effectively vaporized,” Professor Paul Barrett, a dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, said in a museum blog post. “It created a massive crater, so in the immediate area there was utter devastation. A massive shock wave and heat wave kicked in and ejected large amounts of material into the atmosphere.”
Barrett continued: “It sent soot all over the world. It didn’t completely block out the Sun, but it did reduce the amount of light reaching the Earth’s surface. So it had an impact on the plant growth.”
As the plants died, the herbivores died, and then the carnivores perished, which wiped out 75% of all animals on the planet.