A team of Indian paleontologists has unearthed around 100 titanosaur eggs, one of the largest creatures to ever walk the Earth. A discovery rich in lessons, particularly with regard to their reproduction.
92 nests and 256 titanosaur eggs, measuring up to 20 centimeters long. This is the incredible discovery made last year by a team of Indian paleontologists, whose work was published on January 18 in the scientific journal PLOS One. Unearthed in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India, these eggs are approximately the size of a bowling ball, and were laid by one of the largest terrestrial dinosaurs, the titanosaur.
This long-necked sauropod, which could measure between 9 and 12 meters, is among the heaviest creatures to have ever walked on Earth. Its weight could be around 100 tons. The name of this imposing herbivore with a large neck is also a direct reference to the giant Greek deity Titan.
Reproduction closer to birds than to reptiles
This discovery is instructive. Thanks to these eggs, scientists are now able to better understand the mode of reproduction of this dinosaur, ultimately more similar to that of birds than to that of reptiles. Indeed, based on the proximity of the 92 nests, the researchers estimate that the titanosaurs laid their eggs in colonies, like many birds.
“Such nesting colonies would have been a sight to behold in the Cretaceous, when the landscape would have been dotted with a large number of large dinosaur nests,” enthused Guntupalli Prasad, a paleontologist in the University of Delhi.
Each nest contained between 1 and 20 eggs in different states of conservation, which belonged to 6 different species according to the researchers. This suggests that there was a diversity of these dinosaurs on the Indian continent.