February 5, 2007—Three Indian explorers are giving amateurs a good name.
The fossil enthusiasts recently set out on an 18-hour hunt near the central city of Indore and ended up with more than a hundred dinosaur eggs (some of which are pictured above, apparently arranged for photographers), the Hindustan Times reported today (India map).
"They are the typical, spherical eggs that researchers interpret as having been laid by sauropod dinosaurs," paleontologist Hans-Dieter Sues told National Geographic News via email after viewing photos of the find. Sues is an associate director for research and collections at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and a former member of the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.
Distinguished by their long necks and tails, plant-eating sauropods are among the largest creatures known to have roamed the Earth (sauropod picture).
These particular sauropod eggs were found in clusters of six to eight, one of the discoverers told the Hindustan Times. The eggs were laid during the Cretaceous period, roughly 146 to 66 million years ago, by dinosaurs between 40 and 90 feet (12 and 27 meters) long, he added.
Along with the eggs, the fossil hunters uncovered fossilized footprints of the dinosaurs, which used to come from miles around to make their nests in the sandy shores of a long-gone waterway.
Dinosaur eggs have been found at hundreds of sites worldwide, Sues said, and "there are thousands of such eggs from the Late Cretaceous in central India."
While "it is neither unusual nor unexpected," Sues said, "this is a nice find."
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