Researchers find a 66 million years old football-sized dinosaur egg in Antarctica

Antarctica
Antarctica is home to the world’s second-largest egg which is thought to be that of a marine dinosaur

We know more about outer space than we know about our own oceans. The deep dark places on our planet are house to secrets beyond our imagination. A marine reptile may be as big as Kraken, left a huge football-sized egg on Antarctica. This is another mysterious finding from the icy-continent. This is the first fossil of a soft-shell egg ever left on the continent for 66 million years.

The egg is very similar to the size of a dinosaur egg but is completely different from a typical dinosaur egg. Lucas Legendre, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences says it is most similar to the eggs of lizards and snakes, but it is from a truly giant relative of these animals.

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Antarctica home to world’s second-largest egg

Researchers pierced through the many layers of the egg’s membrane using microscopes to determine the characteristics of the fossil egg. The “visibly collapsed and folded” thin-shelled egg is among the largest on this planet. It is second only to the elephant bird’s egg. And its structure is similar to most extinct lizards and snakes, which is indicative of an ovoviviparous lifestyle. Here the egg develops inside of the mother and hatches immediately after being laid.

Chilean scientists first came across the fossil nearly a decade ago, after which it sat unlabeled in the country’s collections at the National Museum of Natural History. Scientists referred to the more than 28-by-18-centimeter (11-by-7 inches) stone-like fossil simply as “The Thing”.

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The study shows it is not clear how the animal hatched. It can be that the mother laid the egg in open water in the same way as modern sea snakes do. Or that the reptile wriggled its way onto the shore to do the same. But, it would have been too heavy to hold up its own body weight so used its tail to create a nest of sorts before its hatchlings scurried out to sea like sea turtles today.

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