Tech UPTechnologyThey find almost spherical dinosaur eggs full of crystals

They find almost spherical dinosaur eggs full of crystals

The dinosaurs that once inhabited our planet laid billions of eggs, some of which never hatched. Due to certain geological features, more eggs are preserved in China than in other places . The Qianshan Basin is, however, the exception. Although a large number of remains of mammals, reptiles and birds have been found in it, the same has not happened with dinosaur eggs. In fact, only three eggs have recently been located in the area, one of which has been mysteriously lost . The other two could be indicators of a hitherto unknown species .

Almost everything we know about dinosaurs is the result of studying their bones and teeth. However, sometimes other remains of their time on Earth are discovered, such as footprints and eggs. Paleontologists cannot always relate these “secondary” remains to known species, but for research purposes they name and classify them. These dinosaurs known only from their eggs are called oospecies , and they have their own oofamilies .

The eggs that paleontologists have described in their article in the Journal of Paleogeography have characteristics that place them in the Stalicoolithidae oofamily , such as secondary egg shells, which differ from other dinosaur eggs. The degree of kinship that the members of this oofamily would have is unknown.

The eggs that have been found in Qianshan are larger than others of the Stalicoolithidae , so the researchers suggest that they could belong to a new species: Shixingoolithus qianshanensis .

The study does not mention how of the three eggs found, one has disappeared. The two that survive, QS-01 and QS-02 , measure 10.5 and 13.7 centimeters long respectively and 9.9 and 13.4 centimeters wide. The first egg is incomplete and full of calcite crystals.

The eggs of birds that fly the most tend to be more pointed. However, even flightless birds have discovered that it is better to lay eggs that are longer than wide , that is, with larger bases. This is believed to be to preserve heat within a clutch and reduce the risk of eggs spilling out of the nests. Also to make them easier to put on. Although dinosaur eggs typically show less difference between the blunt and pointed ends than those of modern birds, they are also often more elongated, making the Shixingoolithus unusual. The egg shells are thinner, especially for the size of the eggs, than those of their closest counterparts.

These are the first eggs to be seen in Qianshan , in fact, they are the first evidence of the existence of dinosaurs in the area. However, it is likely that they are not the only ones to appear, since the conditions that existed there in the Cretaceous and early Paleogene periods caused huge amounts of sediment to be deposited. If the Upper Cretaceous formation alone reaches 887 meters thick, there may be a real treasure underneath.


Reference: Qing He, Zhong-Liang Chen, et al. al. 2022. A new species of Shixingoolithus (Shixingoolithus qianshanensis oosp. nov.) from the Qianshan Basin, Anhui Province, East China. Journal of Palaeogeography. DOI:

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