Impressive discovery in China. Paleontologists have discovered two cannonball-sized dinosaur eggs filled with crystals in the Qianshan Basin, Anhui province, reports living science. According to information published on August 25 in the Journal of Paleontologythese eggs belong to a previously unknown species of dinosaur.
According to the researchers, the eggs are “almost spheroidal”, with a length of 105 to 137 millimeters and a width of 99 to 134 mm. One of the two collected eggs was found partially broken, but its internal surface was “covered with a layer of calcite crystals”, the authors of this finding specify.
Calcite is a carbonate mineral frequently found in the eggs of birds and dinosaurs. Calcite crystals form when calcium carbonate breaks away from the eggshell structure and deposits on its inner surface as slow-growing crystals.
An earlier study published in 2014 in the journal Cretaceous Research suggested that the previously discovered Shixingoolithus eggs likely belonged to an ornithopod, a group of duck-billed, herbivorous, and mostly bipedal dinosaurs that grew up to 9 meters in length.
⋙ A new theory tries to explain the disappearance of the dinosaurs
Fossil-rich Liaoning Province
Ornithopods, like other dinosaurs, disappeared after the impact of the Chicxulub asteroid, which crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula. After this cataclysmic collision, huge amounts of sulfur were catapulted into the stratosphere. Sulfur gases obscured the Sun and rapidly cooled the Earth, leading to the extinction of about 75% of Earth’s plant and animal species.
Frequent volcanic eruptions in eastern China have made the region a particularly rich area for archaeologists and paleontologists. According to National Geographic, more than 60 species of plants, nearly 90 species of vertebrates, and some 300 species of invertebrates have been identified in Liaoning province in the northwest of the country alone. Fossils particularly well preserved thanks to the excellent conditions.