Extremely Rare Dinosaur Eggs Found In China

First Posted: Apr 07, 2016 10:14 AM EDT

Researchers just found a new type of dinosaur egg from the Lower Cretaceous period in northwestern China. The fossil was shown to have been around 100 million and 145 million years old. This is quite a find considering that eggs from the Upper Cretaceous period, which is younger and higher up the surface of the earth, are rare to find -- and the Lower Cretaceous even rarer still.

The eggs are so rare that according to UPI, it required scientists to establish a new "oogenus,""oospecies" and "oofamily" to be able to classify it.

The researchers were also able to list features that set it apart from other dinosaur egg species, specifically noting on how it evolved. Researchers described the new discovery as "branched eggshell units lacking a compact layer near the outer surface; interlocking or isolated multi-angular eggshell units, as viewed in tangential sections; and irregular pore canals."

The new eggs are now known as Polyclonoolithus yangjiagouensis, and are placed in a new family called Polyclonoolithidae -- of course, there is no telling how long they will stay in that classification, or if they can figure out soon if they are eggs from previously discovered dinosaurs. However, the eggs could possibly be related with other oofamilies like Dendroolithidae, Dictyoolithidae and Similifaveoloolithidae. Still, it is likely that there are still unknown dinosaur species preserved in the Lower Cretaceous deposits in China. noted that there have been several dinosaur skeletons found from the Early Cretaceous period in the Gansu Province, but the eggs have never been found. 

Dr Zhang Shukang of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthrology, Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a press release,  "The new discovery expands the geological and geographical distribution of the fossil record of dinosaur eggs in China and may reveal the origin of eggshell microstructures of spheroolithid eggs."

With these discoveries, researchers remain hopeful that excavation of more fossilized eggs may be possible in the future. 

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