One of the world’s greatest treasure troves of dinosaurs discovered in India

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In a huge discovery in the study of the prehistoric giants, Indian scientists have found hundreds of eggs belonging to one of the largest dinosaurs that ever lived. The team found 92 nest sites and 256 eggs of the titanosaur, including extremely rare fossil-in-fossil eggs. The findings helped the base of Indian scientists to bring forward vital new information about the dinosaur species and its environment in India’s Narmada Valley.

The team made the important findings in the Bagh-Kukshi areas in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. The eggs were largely discovered in five villages, namely Akhada, Dholiya Raipuriya, Jhaba, Jamniapura and Padlya, according to a paper detailing the findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

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The area lies between the Jabalpur (MP) in the upper Narmada valley, which is in central India, and Balasinor (Gujarat) in the west, which falls in the lower Narmada valley in west-central India. The team of scientists found “extensive hatcheries” containing more than 250 titanosaur eggs during field surveys between 2017 and 2020, the study led by Harsha Dhiman of Delhi University said. The Lameta Formation in the Narmada Valley is known for the remains of certain species of dinosaurs (sauropods). These were dinosaurs with very long necks, long tails, small heads and four thick, pillar-like legs.

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Field photos of eggs and egg contours with different characteristics | Photo: PLOS ONE Journal

The first dinosaur discovery in the area was made by Captain Sleeman in 1928 near Jabalpur. Since then, dinosaur species such as Rajasaurus narmadensis, Rahiolisaurus gujaratensis, Indosuchus raptorius, Indosaurus matleyi, Laevisuchus indicus, Jainosaurus cf. septentrionalis, Isisaurus colberti, Titanosauriformes indet and nine oospecies of titanosaurs have been found in the area since then, the study said.

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The egg findings indicated a possible high diversity of titanosaurs that lived on the Indian subcontinent. This has not been observed in the dinosaur fossils. The findings helped the scientists gather new information about the Indian titanosaurs of the Late Cretaceous, such as “deformation” and “preservation” of eggs and “reproductive biology”, including “burial of eggs, absence of parental care, colonial nesting behavior.”

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