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In the last few decades, some remarkable discoveries about dinosaur egg fossils have assisted scientists in solving a few dinosaurs' mysteries. Some hypotheses have been confirmed, while other theories have changed.
All the dinosaurs that existed during their reign hatched from an egg. There're still a lot of facts we are yet to know about dinosaur eggs, but we have learned a fair share from their fossil record. The fossil record show, for example, that dinosaur laid their eggs in large batches, most likely since only a few hatchlings survived from a predator.
Here are some things to learn about those fantastic dinosaur eggs.
The Nature of Dinosaur Eggs
Dinosaurs were born from hatched eggs laid by female dinosaurs after sexual intercourse. The eggs were oval, spherical, or pyriform with hard, brittle shells. The interior part of these eggs was identical to those of primitive mammals, reptiles, and birds; they have a membrane known as the amnion that retained the moisture nature of the embryo. While some dinosaurs took care of their eggs, others just laid them and abandoned them in a way that seemed they never cared.
Very infrequently, the eggs have conserved some parts of their embryos, which can assist in matching an egg with another species of a dinosaur. It isn't easy to match an egg to a dinosaur species without an embryo. The embryo in an egg exposes dinosaur development.
First Dinosaur Eggs Found
The first set of fossilized dinosaur eggs discovered and the largest yet to be realized was football-shaped Hypselosaurus eggs found in 1869 in France. These eggs were 30cm long, 25cm wide, had a magnitude of about 2 liters, and weighed about 15.5 pounds. The most miniature dinosaur eggs are around 1 inch across from Mussaurus.
Places Where Dinosaur Eggs Have Been Found
Numerous fossilized dinosaur eggs have been discovered in over 200 countries like France, Mongolia, Spain, Argentina, China, India, and the United States.
Types of Dinosaur Eggs
Oval-shaped Dinosaur Eggs
Football-shaped dinosaur eggs are what the oval-shaped eggs looked like. They are the most standard type of egg. They come in two types: spherical-shaped elliptical dinosaur eggs or elongated oval eggs with pointed ends.
These dinosaur eggs' shapes are more elongated and narrow but look oval-shaped. The dinosaurs that laid oval-shaped eggs are Hadrosaurs, such as Edmontosaurus.
Spherical Dinosaur Eggs
Soccer ball-shaped dinosaur eggs are what the spherical dinosaurs' eggs look like. They have been connected to dinosaurs like the sauropods.
Scientists have discovered spherical eggs in the fossil data of Titanosaur sauropods and others like Apatosaurus, Plateosaurus, Camarasaurus, etc. They also found that Titanosaur sauropods eggs are some of the most enormous fossilized eggs ever discovered.
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Pyriform Dinosaur Eggs
Pyriform dinosaur eggs have the shape of an avocado pear or onion, with the cap half sliced off. Some of the usual dinosaurs that laid these eggs are Citipati and theropods such as Troodon. Their eggs have the shape of a pear with a narrow upper part and a broad, round bottom.
Dinosaur Eggs Incubation Period
It takes between 2(11 days) weeks and 12(85 days) weeks for bird eggs to hatch. Initially, scientists presumed that dinosaurs would have about the same incubation period because they're closely connected to modern birds.
In a recent study, scientists examined the embryos of Protoceratops horned dinosaurs with small eggs and Hypacrosaurus. This duck-billed dinosaur measured about 30ft in length as an adult. The team found growth lines created by tissue known as dentine deposited everyday in the embryonic teeth. Calculating the growth lines in the teeth allows them to gauge the length of the embryo's development.
Evaluating the embryonic teeth exposed that duck-billed Hypacrosaurus took almost six months to incubate, and the Protoceratops took about three months. This shows that dinosaur eggs hatched over more extended periods than birds and reptiles, as scientists initially suggested.
The lengthy incubation periods would have exposed their eggs and nursing mothers to predators, hunger, and natural disasters. The snail-pace incubation rates might even have contributed to their extinction about 65 million years ago after an asteroid struck the Planet.
Dinosaurs were not as energy-efficient as the cold-blooded amphibians and reptiles that took as little as 52 weeks to mature. Their eggs' more prolonged incubation might have made it harder for dinosaurs to contend with rapidly reproducing mammals, birds, and reptiles.
The Largest Dinosaur Egg Ever Found
You probably have heard that the most giant dinosaur ever discovered is the Argentinosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most prominent dinosaurs. Then what about the biggest egg?
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The most significant dinosaur egg ever found is spherical, which was 24 inches. The most enormous elongated dinosaur egg was approximately 18 inches long, and the most giant soft-shelled dinosaur egg found was 11 inches.
Scientists found the biggest spherical dinosaur eggs in France, which measured up to 24 inches in diameter and were realized in 1846.
Although they never thought it was a dinosaur egg because dinosaurs were unknown at the time and had not been classified. Paleontologists later realized it was a sauropod egg after a series of discoveries.
Scientists believe that the sauropod that laid the massive egg was a titanosaur sauropod called Hypselosaurus. However, many scientists don't believe in all these dinosaurs' classification.
There was another discovery of some large elongated dinosaur eggs in 1995 in Heyuan, China. The founders were very excited but even more excited over the discovery of Baby Louie.
Apart from these, the most giant elongated eggs ever discovered also held a complete fossilized embryo inside them. Even though other fossilized fetuses have been realized, none have been this huge. Paleontologists conclude that the egg was laid by an oviraptorid.
Paleontologists also discovered a soft-shell dinosaur egg in 2020 in Antarctica, and it was considered the largest ever found. And Paleontologists' further research concluded that the egg was laid by a giant marine reptile about 50 million years ago. It was about 11 inches long.
The Texture of Dinosaur Eggs
Generally, dinosaur eggs are hard-shelled, considering thousands of dinosaur egg fossil records that have been found worldwide.
Scientists advocated that many dinosaur eggs may have been soft-shelled, which may explain why some dinosaur eggs like Allosaurus are yet to be found.
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Soft-cased eggs are not often discovered due to the fossilization procedure, making it harder for softer eggs to survive.
Ironically, the fossilized soft-shell egg of an aquatic reptile that existed during the Mesozoic age was found in Antarctica in 2020.
Conclusively, you have just seen some of my compiled facts on dinosaur eggs. You're free to engage with me on your opinions and discoveries on this topic in the comment box. Thank you for stopping by.