In Madhya Pradesh, researchers from Delhi University found an extraordinary fossilised dinosaur egg. One egg was nested within the other, a phenomenon known as ovum-in-ovo that has previously been observed in birds but never in reptiles.
The find was uncovered at the Dinosaur Fossil National Park in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district. It was published in scientific reports in peer-reviewed journals.
Researchers have also found a link between the development of birds and reptiles after studying the fossilised egg of a titanosaurid dinosaur. ‘The discovery of ovum-in-ovo egg from a titanosaurid dinosaur nest suggests that their oviduct morphology was similar to that of birds opening up the possibility for sequential laying of eggs in this group of sauropod dinosaurs. This new find underscores that the ovum-in-ovo pathology is not unique to birds and sauropods share a reproductive behaviour very similar to that of other archosaurs’, the study said.
There are 52 sauropod dinosaur nests in Madhya Pradesh’s Padlya hamlet, near to where the ovum-in-ovo egg was discovered. Abnormal or pathological eggs include eggs that are exceptionally tiny or large, and eggs lacking yolks.
‘The pathologic ovum-in-ovo egg has now been shifted to the premises of Dinosaur Fossil National Park (designated by MP state government), close to Padlya village to keep it safe from illegal fossil collectors’, the study said. The discovery was hailed as a ‘rare and important’ find by researchers.
Guntupalli V.R. Prasad, the corresponding author of the study said, ‘No ovum-in-ovo egg was found in reptiles until now and as it brings out significant information on whether dinosaurs had a reproductive biology similar to that of turtles and lizards or their immediate cousins crocodiles and birds’.