- Researchers have uncovered 92 nesting sites containing a total of 256 fossil eggs in central India’s Narmada Valley belonging to titanosaurs, which were among the largest dinosaurs to have ever lived.
- The finding, published in the journal PLOS ONE, reveals intimate details about the lives of titanosaurs in the Indian subcontinent.
- The Lameta Formation, located in the Narmada Valley, is well-known for fossils of dinosaur skeletons and eggs of the Late Cretaceous Period that lasted from about 145 to 66 million years ago, the researchers said.
- Detailed examination of these nests allowed researchers at the University of Delhi, New Delhi and colleagues to make inferences about the life habits of these dinosaurs.
- They identified six different egg species, suggesting a higher diversity of titanosaurs than what is represented by the skeletal remains from this region.
- Based on the layout of the nests, the team inferred that these dinosaurs buried their eggs in shallow pits like modern-day crocodiles.
- Certain pathologies found in the eggs, such as a rare case of “egg-in-egg”, indicate that titanosaur sauropods had a reproductive physiology that parallels that of birds and possibly laid their eggs in a sequential manner as seen in modern birds.
- The presence of many nests in the same area suggests that these dinosaurs exhibited colonial nesting behaviour like modern birds.
On their own
- However, the close spacing of the nests left little room for adult dinosaurs, supporting the idea that adults left the hatchlings (newborns) to fend for themselves.
- These fossil nests provide a wealth of data about some of the largest dinosaurs in history, and they come from a time shortly before the age of dinosaurs came to an end, the researchers said.
- The findings contribute significantly to paleontologists’ understanding of how dinosaurs lived and evolved, they added.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB