They were the largest earthly creatures the earth had ever known. But what survived millions of years of fossilization in a particular area of the Ponte Alta region of Brazil was not their massive bones, but rather their rare and relatively small eggs. And a lot of them! The country’s first titanosaur nesting site was recently announced in the year paper Published in Scientific Reports.
Sauropods, a group of long-necked herbivores, were a diverse species of dinosaur that lived from the Jurassic through the Cretaceous period, a period that stretched from 201 million years ago to 66 million years ago. Titanosaurs were a class of sauropods – a group with a common ancestor – and were the last such subspecies on the planet in the late Cretaceous period. While their names justifiably indicate an enormous size, not all of them were huge.
South America is famous for fossils of titanosaurs, particularly in Argentina, home to some of the world’s most abundant fossils just awesome titanosaur nesting sites And embryonic remains. Titanosaur eggshells and egg fragments are known from Uruguay, Peru and Brazil, but the fossilized egg here and there provides no evidence of a nesting site. Many egg clutches and many eggs and egg fragments in more than one layer of sediment.
This find represents the site of titanosaur nests in the far north of South America. While we knew that dinosaurs ranged farther north, the lack of known nesting sites there suggests that they may have migrated south to lay eggs. The finding indicates that this was not necessarily the case.
lost in limestone
These fossils were found by one of the paper’s authors, Joao Ismail da Silva, a paleontologist working at the Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro in Brazil.
He said in a press release, “In the 1990s, I learned of the occurrence of dinosaur eggs in Ponte Alta. In conversation with my friends who worked in limestone mining, I was able to retrieve some isolated eggs and, finally, an association of ten spherical eggs.”
Limestone mining was a major factor in the discovery, which came from a former Lafarge quarry, which had been in operation for 26 years – meaning that the great layers of the earth are now open. But the mine undoubtedly destroyed many fossils that may have contributed to our understanding of lost ecosystems. The remains of the quarry mean that this area may have been of extraordinary fossil value.
In addition to eggs, the site has provided fossil evidence of crocodile shapes, parts of bipedal carnivores known as theropods, titanosaur fragments, fish, and gastropods.
This, Dr. Thiago Marinho wrote in an email, “shows how important it is [it] is to have a paleontologist in the extensive fossils of sedimentary rocks. (Also from the Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro, Marinho is a paleontologist and co-author on the paper.) “The existence of these beautifully preserved eggs,” he continued, “explains[s] that this was an exceptional site for paleontology that would have provided many other important materials if the simple measure of having a paleontologist in the place of Taking.”
The most well-preserved egg clutch contains 10 eggs grouped together, eight facing the surface and two below the rest. Specimens, mostly collected by da Silva, were found in at least two layers of sediment, indicating that this long-necked giant returned year after year to this breeding site.