Dinosaur egg fossils discovered for the first time in China’s Heyuan Basin

2023-07-24 09:12:31Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
(Photo/Courtesy of the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum)

(Photo/Courtesy of the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum)

Four dinosaur egg fossils were uncovered in the Heyuan Basin for the first time recently in Heyuan, a city known for its extensive collection of dinosaur egg fossils in South China's Guangdong Province. The latest discovery not only expanded the scope of dinosaur egg geological investigations in the region but also held crucial importance for studying local geography and climate in ancient times, expert said.

The fossils came to light after a retired veteran noticed them accidentally at a construction site on Thursday. An entire nest of dinosaur egg fossils was unearthed, consisting of four eggs. The specific age of these fossils still needs further research, Huang Zhiqing, deputy director of the collection and research department at the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum, told the Global Times.

“This is the first time we discovered dinosaur egg fossils in the Huyuan Basin,” Huang said, adding that the discovery provided evidence that in ancient times, not only were dinosaurs living in the Heyuan Basin (where large amount of dinosaur egg fossils were found), but also a group of such prehistoric creatures inhabited the Dengta Basin. 

He expressed that the findings were also expected to help study the environment in ancient times, because without a suitable environment, including water and food, it would have been difficult for the survival of these ancient beings. Given the large size of dinosaurs and their substantial dietary needs, proximity to water was a crucial factor for their existence.

To gain detailed information about these fossils, researchers will have to carefully remove the eggshell fragments, conduct slicing, magnify them hundreds of times, and study their microstructure at a local research institute, according to Huang.

Du Yanli, the curator of the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum, said that the recently discovered dinosaur egg fossils were mainly circular or oval, with relatively small sizes. It is still uncertain whether they belong to a new dinosaur egg fossil species. 

“Currently, we have identified 12 species from 11 genera across 5 families of dinosaur egg fossils. If this discovery turns out to be a new genus, it would represent a significant breakthrough,” he remarked.

In 2004, Heyuan earned a Guinness World Record for possessing a collection of over 10,008 dinosaur egg fossils. Presently, the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum houses about 20,000 dinosaur eggs fossils, making it a treasure trove for dinosaur researchers and enthusiasts.

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