All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//October
12 10, 2009

Jurassic Wars – Dinosaur Based Combat Game

By | October 12th, 2009|Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Jurassic Wars – Dinosaur Based Combat Game

One of Everything Dinosaur’s favourite dinosaur themed games is the Jurassic Wars – dinosaur based combat game.  A game designed for two or more players that involves skill, strategy and just a little bit of luck.  Throw the dice and can your chosen dinosaur win out in a combat with another prehistoric beast.

Jurassic Wars (Dinosaur Game)

Battle with dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Jurassic Wars is a compelling dice based combat game that combines tactical skill with a unique game playing mechanism.  Seven combat dice decide your dinosaur’s fate in one to one battles, but can you use your combat cards to ensure that your dinosaur comes out on top?

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Dinosaur Games including Dinosaur Board Games: Dinosaur Educational Games and Dinosaur Board Games

11 10, 2009

Jurassic Wars – Dinosaur Combat Game

By | October 11th, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Jurassic Wars Dinosaur Combat Game

Pit dinosaurs from different geological time periods against each other in a bid to become master of the Mesozoic in this dinosaur based combat game. Select a dinosaur card from your hand and try to beat your opponent’s dinosaur in this ultimate battle for survival.

Want to know how an Iguanodon would have fared up against a vicious Carnotaurus or whether a Stegosaurus could survive an attack from a T. rex, this dice based game allows players to explore these scenarios,  pitting dinosaurs that would have never met against each other in mortal combat.

Those creative people at Dice Maestro have combined dinosaurs and geology into a clever dice based game involving tactics, skill and a little luck to decide who will be the champion.

Jurassic Wars – Dice Combat Game

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The game can be played by between two and five players and is suitable for children from aged 7-8 and upwards.  The trick is to learn the relative strengths of the dinosaur on your picture card and assess whether or not you need to play one of your special combat cards to give you the edge in any particular one on one encounter.  Lots of lovely dinosaurs are featured from the regulars such as T. rex, Apatosaurus and Triceratops to some of the more unusual ones such as Dryosaurus and the obscure Sarcosaurus (early Theropod whose remains; a single pelvis are associated with Leicestershire, in England).

It is pleasing to see such a variety of Dinosauria featured and the object of the game is to win your opponents cards using the special red or green combat dice to decide the outcome of each battle.

Jurassic Wars – Box Contents

Jurassic Wars Game Contents

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the game: Dino Board Games and Dinosaur Puzzles

This game has whizzed through our review process, with very favourable comments such as parents stating that it is nice to see a dice based game and not a computer game for a change (although note was made of the cool computer generated dinosaur graphics that feature throughout the sets of cards).  The study box makes an excellent combat arena and this means that this game is suitable for taking on holiday or travelling.  In fact, we received a number of comments and remarks on how well presented and packaged this game was.

Another nice touch was the “suggest a dinosaur” element.  The manufacturers provide information in the contents about how young dinosaur fans can suggest a new dinosaur to be added to this combat game.  There are certainly plans to include expansion packs and extend the number of prehistoric animals associated with Jurassic Wars.

10 10, 2009

Egg Thieves and we are not just talking about Oviraptors

By | October 10th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Locals steal Eggs from Newly Discovered Dinosaur Nesting Site in India

A newly discovered Late Cretaceous dinosaur nesting site has been raided by locals and souvenir hunters in a scramble (no egg based pun intended) to get hold of these precious ancient artefacts.  A Sauropod nesting site, found by chance as a team of geologists were studying a river bed in the Indian province of Tamil Nadu has been raided with many of the fossils taken and parts of the site disturbed and crucial data lost.

Locals broke in after the government announced the discovery of the nesting site which is thought date from the very end of the Age of Reptiles.  Many of the football-sized eggs have been taken as locals hunted for souvenirs and also for fossils to put up for sale to the highest bidder.  Unfortunately, the raiding of palaeontological dig sites is an all too common occurrence, making many scientists afraid of publishing information about their discoveries in case they encourage “tomb robbers”.

It was a week ago when we reported the exciting news of the discovery of a vast Sauropod nesting site.  The majority of the eggs never hatched and show signs of having been covered by volcanic ash.  Could this be evidence of volcanic activity affecting the breeding cycles of dinosaurs?  Perhaps environmental stress made many animals sterile or could the area have been covered in fine ash and this led to the death of the embryos and the dinosaurs never hatched?

To read the original article: Treasure Trove of Dinosaur Eggs found in India

Shortly after their discovery and the confirmation they were fossilised eggs, scientists leading the project called for increased security but unfortunately none was provided, leaving the site unguarded.  Unfortunately, with the raids, a lot of valuable data will have been lost.  Such a find is extremely important, the site could well prove to be the largest dinosaur nesting site ever found on the sub-continent but the damage caused by trophy hunters could seriously undermine the work of the researchers.

Let us hope that the authorities are able to put a stop to these raids and protect the fossils.  Whilst it may be tempting to try to steal a fossil, new fossil tracing techniques are being developed by scientists, these could help determine legitimately sourced fossils for sale at auction and those that have found their way into private sales and auctions via the black market.  Hopefully, these new techniques and stricter policing will deter would be thieves.

9 10, 2009

Paraceratherium, Indricotherium, Baluchitherium – Take your Pick

By | October 9th, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

The Gigantic Paraceratherium – An Extinct Rhinoceros

Whatever the correct name for these huge, prehistoric mammals, Paraceratherium, Indricotherium or indeed Baluchitherium it was with great delight that we received our first batch of models of this ancient Perissodactyl (odd-toed, hoofed mammal).  A relative of extant rhinos, although without a horn, Paraceratherium (the accepted scientific name for this genus), is regarded by many scientists as the largest land mammal ever.  Only the very largest species of elephant from the fossil record can match a male Paraceratherium when it comes to size and weight.  Some estimates have these huge, herbivores tipping the scales at an incredible 20 Tonnes, making them comparable in weight to many Sauropods, the titans of the Dinosauria.  The females are believed to have been smaller, although at an estimated 11 tonnes for a mature cow, you would not want one standing on your toes as that still equates to twice the weight of an adult African elephant.

A number of species of Indricothere are known from the fossil record of Europe and Asia, most famously from the Hsanda Gol Formation (Oligocene).  Their long legs and necks enabled them to browse on the tallest trees, like modern giraffes.  It is such a pleasure to have a model to add to our prehistoric mammal model range.  Normally, it is the Woolly Mammoths and Smilodons that get all the attention, but it is so nice to see a model maker and manufacturer (Procon and the Collecta range), introducing a model of one of the more unusual and less known prehistoric mammals.

The Model of Paraceratherium (Collecta Paraceratherium Model)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture shows the new, hand-painted model of Paraceratherium.  We have added the human model to show scale of the creature in real life.  Adult Paraceratherium could peer over the roof of a house.

To view the model and dinosaurs: Dinosaur Toys, Prehistoric Animals – Dinosaur Models

Although, this animal featured in the popular sequel to “Walking with Dinosaurs”, the “Walking with Beasts” television series from the BBC, our fascination with this particular animal goes back a long way.

Whilst waiting for the models to arrive and checking on the fact sheet that our experts have prepared, a little bit of time was spent looking at old reference books that feature this animal.  There is an illustration of rather heavy set Paraceratherium (referred to in the text as Baluchitherium), in the Hamlyn Pointer book entitled “Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals” written by Alfred Leutscher.  The book must be something like forty years old but we would like to quote part of the passage dedicated to Paraceratherium, if nothing else it shows how the views of palaeontologists have changed over the years.

“With its tall neck it [Paraceratherium] could graze in the tree branches and browse off the leaves, rather as the modern giraffe does.  Perhaps it died out because it grew too big and clumsy like the dinosaurs did”.

Animals becoming extinct as they simply became too big and clumsy, an interesting theory.  The way that some of us bump around the office and warehouse at times, may be a sign that we too are in danger of extinction due to our clumsiness.

Still, so nice to see a model of this animal widely available.

8 10, 2009

Understanding Archaeopteryx – Fossil Bone Study shows Slow Growth Rate

By | October 8th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Archaeopteryx – New Study casts doubt on Avian Lineage

A new study carried out by American scientists with support from other teams of palaeontologists in China and Germany has cast doubt over just how closely Archaeopteryx may have been to the true origin of birds.  This new research published in the on line scientific journal PloS One (Public Library of Science), suggests that the metabolism and subsequent growth rate of this Jurassic creature was perhaps more reminiscent of the growth rate expected of a dinosaur than to a modern bird.

In a microscopic study of several Archaeopteryx fossils and other extinct creatures such as some of the ancient birds from the Liaoning Formation of China, images taken of the ancient cells and blood vessels inside the bones of Archaeopteryx show slow growth.  This Jurassic animal may have taken years to mature and reach adult size.  This pattern of ontogeny (growth) is similar to what dinosaurs had.  In contrast, modern birds grow rapidly and mature in a matter of weeks.

Think of the birds in your garden or neighbourhood, you may have seen blackbirds, sparrows, and thrushes all nesting in the Spring and by late Summer the offspring are not much smaller than their parents.  Modern birds (Neornithes), grow and mature very quickly.  Most reptiles grow much slower, from this study it seems that evidence from the fossilised bones of Archaeopteryx indicate that this feathered creature, claimed to be the first bird and ancestral to all birds, grew at the same speed expected of a dinosaur, not at the same rate as your garden sparrow.

An Illustration of Archaeopteryx

Archaeopteryx lithographica by Everything Dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Importantly, this research indicates that rapid bone growth, a trait common to all living birds was absent from the first birds.  Rapid growth and maturation was not necessary for avian dinosaur flight.

This new paper follows the recent of announcement of the discovery of several feathered dinosaurs that pre-date the 150 million-year-old Archaeopteryx, providing evidence that creatures like Archaeopteryx may have evolved from feathered dinosaurs.

To view an article about feathered dinosaurs: Older than Archaeopteryx – Supporting Evidence of Birds evolving from Feathered Dinosaurs

The paper co-authored by a number of palaeontologists including Gregory Erickson, an Associate Professor at Florida State’s Department of Biological Science supported by scientists at the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, compares the microscopic analysis of the long bones in various Archaeopteryx fossils with extant birds as well as Theropod dinosaurs and birds such as the primitive Confuciusornis from the Cretaceous.

Dr. Erickson stated that there was already evidence to support the theory that birds are in fact dinosaurs, but this paper attempted to answer the question: – “Just how dinosaur-like, or even bird-like was the first bird? [Archaeopteryx]“.

There has been considerable debate over how well this crow-sized creature could fly.  Some scientists have even speculated that this early bird may not actually have been capable of powered flight, perhaps gliding from tree to tree.  However, studies carried out by scientists at the Natural History Museum in London, seemed to indicate that Archaeopteryx possessed and excellent sense of balance and had the faculties required to produce and control powered flight.  In addition, research has indicated that the structure of the inner ear of Archaeopteryx was more bird-like than reptilian.

To read an article on the London research: Let’s hear it for Archaeopteryx

Commenting on the ontogeny of birds, Dr. Erickson stated:

“Living birds mature very quickly.  That’s why we rarely see baby birds among flocks of invariably identical-size pigeons.  Slow-growing animals such as Archaeopteryx would look foreign to contemporary bird-watchers”.

Similar microscopic bone studies were carried out on the 130 million-year-old fossils of Confuciusornis.  This phase of the project was supervised by scientists from the IVPP.  It was concluded that the Confuciusornithids were the first known birds to show a transition to the rapid growth rates associated with modern bird species.  Not only was the jay-sized flyer Confuciusornis more advanced anatomically than Archaeopteryx (the development of a pygostyle rather than a long, cumbersome tail is evidence of this), but it seems that the growth rate of these two creatures was also very different.  More advanced bird fossils from approximately 100 million years ago, show bones well supplied with blood vessels and were probably faster growing than the Confuciusornithids.

It seems that the bird cladogram and the evolutionary path taken by our feathered friends is turning out to be every bit as complex as first thought when Huxley back in the 19th Century put forward the theory of a link between Dinosauria and Aves.

7 10, 2009

On the trail of Big Foot – Giant Sauropod Trackways Uncovered

By | October 7th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Giant Sauropod Trackways Discovered in Eastern France

Dinosaur trackways and footprints are known as trace fossils.  These fossils preserve evidence of the activities of dinosaurs and the unearthing of giant 150 million-year-old Sauropod tracks is being heralded by scientists as a “unique discovery”.  Body fossils can be transported long distances and deposited away from the region where the animal actually lived. With trace fossils, such as these amazing dinosaur footprints, you can actually wallk where a dinosaur walked 150 million years ago.  Now that’s what we call “Walking with Dinosaurs”.

The newly discovered trackways are being claimed as the largest footprints ever found.  Some prints exceed 1.5 metres in diameter.  The trackways are believed to extend perhaps for several hundred metres, providing scientists with a unique opportunity to study Sauropod locomotion over such a large distance.

These huge dinosaur tracks were made by giant Sauropods of an unknown genus, the site is located near the French village of Plagne on the Jura plateau, north-east of the city of Lyon and not far from the Swiss border.  It is from these rock formations that the geological period known as the Jurassic is named.

The huge footprints were uncovered as the clearing of woodland led to the erosion of surface soil.  The tracks, which resemble a series of craters were formed when heavy Sauropods walked over calcified sand, their weight compressing the ground and pushing up large ridges of sediment surrounding each print.  This area was then quickly covered by another layer of sandy mud and the preservation process was started.  During the late Jurassic this area was a beach, adjacent to a warm shallow sea.  It seems that Sauropods enjoyed a trip to the seaside as much as we do.

The trackways were found in April by a pair of amateur fossil hunters, Marié-Hèlene Marcaud, a teacher, and Patrice Landry, a geologist, during one of their regular expeditions with the Naturalists’ Society of Oyonnax. Aware of the significance of their discovery, the pair contacted scientists at the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) to confirm the authenticity of the prints.

Sauropod Trackway at Plagne

Picture Credit: Hubert Raguet/CNRS

In a statement from the CNRS, the footprints appear to be the largest dinosaur footprints known, making them the biggest footprints ever found.  The exceptional length of the trackways will provide palaeontologists with the opportunity to study the walking habits of dinosaurs over an extraordinary distance, trackways in excess of fifty metres are very rare, these tracks may extend over hundreds of metres in length.

Michel Mazin, a researcher with the Lyon University based CNRS stated:

“This is a colossal find with global repercussions.  The prints are very big reaching 1.2 to 1.5 metres across, which corresponds to animals exceeding 30-40 tonnes in weight and measuring more than 25 metres in length”.

Researchers hope to exhume several thousand more prints based on one or several trails, which would allow them to estimate how many dinosaurs passed through the region.  The goal is also to find out what the dinosaurs were doing on this trail.

An Illustration of a Late Jurassic Sauropod (Apatosaurus)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

It is possible that the prints may reveal characteristics of herding behaviour, perhaps indicating how these large, herbivorous dinosaurs travelled in groups.  It is a mystery what these animals were doing traversing a beach, there would have been little food on the shoreline for them to eat.  It has been speculated that these sorts of dinosaurs had to travel great distances to find enough food to sustain their huge bulk. It may have been easier for them to cross the sandy beach rather than have to try to force their way through woodland and scrub.

6 10, 2009

Dinosaur Dino-opoly Christmas Gift Idea

By | October 6th, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

Dinosaur Dino-opoly – A Christmas Gift Selection Idea

Yesterday we were emailed by a lady asking our advice regarding Christmas gift ideas for her grandson.  She wanted to get him a board game that he could play with his younger brother, something that would also appeal to the Mums and Dads in the family.  We test all the products that end up in our online shop, so we were able to pass on plenty of advice and make some suggestions as what might be best.

We recommended the Dinosaur Dino-opoly game, a new twist on the traditional family board game.  In Dino-opoly players have to travel round the board trying to acquire dinosaur exhibits for their own museum.  This game, suitable for 2-6 players has proved very popular on test and children as young as five have played it (and beaten us).  We love the pewter playing pieces all designed with geologists and palaeontologists in mind, and there are lots and lots of interesting dinosaur facts to keep young prehistoric animal fans happy.

Dinosaur Dino-opoly

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the game in more detail: Dino Board Games & Puzzles

There is even a quick one-hour version of game play for all those impatient dinosaur fans who want to obtain as many dinosaurs as quickly as possible.  Patience is a virtue for palaeontologists, we would know, many of us have spent hours on end searching for fossils without success, or working in a prep lab, trying to complete what on paper looked like the most simple of tasks.  I remember one such occasion on a dig site in Canada when after six hours of working on a Hadrosaurine fossil site, I managed to come up with one fragment of ossified tendon, my only find after carefully and delicately removing buckets and buckets of surrounding matrix.  Still just finding that tiny piece made my day.

5 10, 2009

Lyuba Tour Dates Announced – Baby Mammoth to Visit Natural History Museum

By | October 5th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|19 Comments

Baby Mammoth Exhibition to visit Museums – Schedule Announced

Lyuba, the beautifully preserved baby mammoth that drowned in a muddy pool approximately 40,000 years ago, is the star attraction on a new Woolly Mammoth exhibition that will be making its debut at the prestigious Field Museum in Chicago (USA) before embarking on a world tour.

This almost perfectly preserved frozen carcase of a one-month-old female Mammoth calf was discovered by a reindeer herder in the remote Yamal-Nenets region of Siberia in May 2007.  An ear and part of the tail were missing, perhaps as a result of the body being scavenged by wolves before it was frozen, or perhaps as a result of the corpse partially thawing out before the herder found it.  The baby Mammoth was named Lyuba, the name of the herder’s wife.

It had been studied in Japan and several casts of the animal have been made.  This calf is extremely important as it represents a healthy animal.  Previous finds of baby Mammoths such as Dima were corpses of animals that were malnourished or ill when they died.  Poor Lyuba got stuck in a muddy pool and drowned, so perfectly preserved was this specimen that scientists were able to learn a lot about Mammoths and their young.

To read an article about Lyuba’s discovery: Baby Mammoth Fossil Found

Lyuba will be the star attraction of a travelling exhibit on Woolly Mammoths, there are plans to have this exhibit tour a number of museums over the next four years or so.  Her first stop will be the Field Museum in Chicago (USA) where she will be on display from March 5th 2010 until September 6th 2010.  Not all the museums may be able to have the actual fossil of Lyuba, however, a replica model is available to help visitors to that particular leg of the tour, appreciate how well preserved this baby Mammoth is.

Lyuba – The Female Mammoth Calf

Picture Credit: Uppa Photoshot (Daily Telegraph News)

Commenting on the Lyuba exhibition plans, Daniel Fisher, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Michigan who is part of the international team of researchers studying the animal stated:

“There’s a visceral awe that takes hold of you in looking at a specimen like Lyuba, and the exhibition as a whole demonstrates how close we can come to knowing what these animals were like”.

As Lyuba was in good condition and healthy before her unfortunate accident, she has already taught researchers a lot about Mammoths and their young.  For example, traces of her mother’s milk were found in her stomach and a store of fat at the back of the skull may have helped the young animal keep warm.  This hump helped provide energy to the body and keep the animal warm in a cold climate.  This supports the theory that baby Mammoths were born in the spring, allowing them enough time to grow and put on fat reserves to help them through their first winter.

Professor Fisher reported:

“We had no idea from preserved skeletons and preserved carcasses that young mammoths had a discrete structure on the back of the head of brown fat cells”.

The discovery of Lyuba has fuelled speculation about the possibility of being able to clone a Mammoth from preserved DNA.  Professor Fisher commentated that this particular fossil could yield DNA but “no one is  on the threshold of cloning at this point”.

After the Field Museum exhibit closes, Lyuba and the rest of the display items will be embarking on a 10 city tour, the final stop is scheduled for the London Natural History Museum in 2014.  Dates have yet to be finalised, but as we write this blog entry we understand dates from May to September 2014 have been reserved for the Natural History Museum in London.  The Natural History Museum’s exhibition team have discussed the possibility of the exhibit called “Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age” coming to London with their counterparts from Chicago.

Since the discovery of Lyuba, we have helped on the making of a new model Woolly Mammoth calf, this new model is not to scale but works well with the 1:20 scale model series from manufacturers such as Schleich and Carnegie Safari.

The calf has been sculpted to show a much younger animal than the Schleich baby Woolly Mammoth calf.

Baby Woolly Mammoth model and dinosaurs: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

4 10, 2009

Samson fails to Bring House Down at Auction

By | October 4th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Mounted T. rex Specimen Fails to Reach Reserve Price at Auction

The Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton put up for sale by a wealthy, private owner has failed to sell in a Las Vegas auction of prehistoric fossils and other ancient artefacts.  The Tyrannosaurus was expected to fetch in excess of 4.5 million dollars (USD) but when the bidding stopped at 3.6 million dollars (USD), the lot was declared a no sale.  The T. rex nick-named Samson (although believed to be female), failed to meet its reserve price and fell well below the record paid for a palaeontological specimen, the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen known as Sue that sold for 8.36 million dollars in an auction at Sotherby’s in 1997.

To read a article about the Vegas auction: Tyrannosaurus rex under the Hammer

Samson, along with seventeen other lots failed to find a buyer in the auction that took place yesterday (Saturday).  The auction house responsible; Bonhams & Butterfields were quick to blame the recession for the lack of interest in many of the exhibits up for sale.

Officials from the auction house pointed out that twenty-five lots did sell, raising an estimated 1.7 million dollars (USD).

Commenting on the lack of success for the T. rex specimen, Patrick Meade, the Chief Operating Officer at Bonhams & Butterfields stated:

“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t find a buyer, but we will, and I’m pretty happy with the results overall”.

Some specimens did exceed their expected sale price, many of these items were purchased by wealthy individuals who will involve some of their purchases in their own charity and community work.  Other items will be put on display in their lavish homes.

Here’s hoping that the T. rex and other specimens are made available to public institutions and academic establishments so the can be viewed and studied.

3 10, 2009

“Treasure Trove” of Dinosaur Eggs found In India

By | October 3rd, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Extensive Sauropod Nesting Site Unearthed in India

A team of Indian and German geologists found themselves “scrambling” for an explanation when they discovered evidence of an enormous dinosaur nesting site in southern India.  The team were working in the state of Tamil Nadu, searching for a suitable location from where they could excavate an ancient riverbed when they made this “eggciting” discovery.  The site near the Sendurai village in the central district of Ariyalur may turn out to be the largest collection of dinosaur eggs ever found in the country.  This region has provided many body fossils of dinosaurs from rock formations dating from across the Mesozoic era, but never before have so many dinosaur eggs been found in a single location on the Indian sub-continent.

One of the Dinosaur Nesting Sites

Picture Credit: BBC media images

The blue pen leaning on the dinosaur egg provides scale.

The site may be very significant in terms of research into the mass extinction event at the end of the Mesozoic.  The Late Cretaceous nesting site, the team have revealed, may provide evidence on the environmental conditions at the time of extinction of the dinosaurs.  The nesting site is estimated to cover at least one quarter of a mile and after an initial survey, the geologists dug deeper and discovered that fossilised eggs were deposited in layers indicating that this particular location was used year after year.

Commenting on their amazing find Dr. Ramkumar, Geology lecturer at Periyer University stated:

“We found clusters and clusters of spherical eggs of dinosaurs, and each cluster contained eight eggs” .

The eggs measure 13 to 20 centimetres in diameter and they were lying in sandy nests about 1.2 metres wide.  Scientists believe that these spherical eggs were laid by a type of long-necked, elephantine dinosaur of the sub-order Sauropoda.  It is most likely, given the age of the fossils that they were laid by some type of Titanosaur.  The researchers estimate that there are literally hundreds of nests however, the eggs studied so far never hatched, for some reason either the animals that laid them were infertile or the embryos inside died.

Similar nesting sites of Titanosaurs are known from South America.  In 1997, a large Titanosaur nesting site was unearthed in Patagonia (Southern Argentina).  The eggs were laid in shallow depressions, excavated out of the sandy soil and from the location of the many nests it seems that herbivorous Sauropod dinosaurs used the same favourite nesting site year after year.  The nests contained many broken shells and it is believed that most of these particular dinosaurs hatched successfully.  The nesting sites have been associated with the medium sized Titanosaur Saltasaurus.  On average there were more than eight eggs in each of the South American nests, so based on this evidence either Saltasaurs laid more eggs than the species concerned with the Indian nest site, or perhaps strain on the species was causing the Indian Sauropods to lay fewer eggs.

There are some unhatched Sauropod nests associated with the South American site.  These seem to have been affected by rising water levels and a rising water table which drowned the young dinosaurs in their eggs.

To view a model of a Saltasaurus: Dinosaur Models and Toys – Dinosaur Models

Dr Ramkumar went onto state:

“The important finding is that these eggs have been found in different layers that means the dinosaurs came to the place over and over year after year.  The second important thing is that we have got volcanic ash deposits on the eggs which suggests that volcanic activity could have caused their extinction.

The Deccan Traps were releasing vast amounts of volcanic ash and other noxious substances into the environment during this time in the late Cretaceous.  Many scientists believe that climate change caused by these volcanic activity may have been a factor in the mass extinction event that occurred approximately 65 million years ago.  Now this infertile nesting site could provide direct evidence as to the ecological disaster facing life on Earth at the time.

To read a previous article on the Deccan Traps: Blame the Deccan Traps

“The other thing we have found is that all these eggs are unhatched and infertile.  So what made the eggs infertile?  We need to carry out further studies to learn more from the findings”.

Dr. Ramkumar commented.

Fossilised eggs have been found in the region previously, there is a report from a British scientific expedition in the 1860s when India was part of the British Empire, but this site may yield information on the environment at the time of the demise of the dinosaurs as well as providing insight into Titanosaur nesting behaviour.

Interestingly, if plant-eating dinosaurs returned year after year to the same traditional nesting grounds and for some reason these areas become unsuitable for nesting and the survival of eggs, then the eggs laid in that area are not likely to survive.  Could this be a reason for dinosaur extinction?  Ingrained and instinctive behaviours at a time of dramatic climatic upheaval caused the death of whole nesting colonies for years.  Perhaps dinosaurs could not change their nesting habits and this led to a collapse in the population of dinosaurs, with no offspring being produced to replace those older animals that died.  Also, the relatively low numbers of eggs per site (8), could this be significant?  Were dinosaurs producing fewer and fewer young as a result of environmental change?

Samples of the eggs are to be sent to Germany for further research in a bid to try to answer some of these intriguing questions.

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