Tiny Dinosaur Eggs Unearthed in Hyogo

4 Jul

Hi blog.

Just a quick find from the English language press, this time about the smallest known dinosaur egg ever discovered.  I need to visit the dinosaur museum in Fukui someday…

Article from the Asahi Shimbun http://ajw.asahi.com/article/sci_tech/science/AJ201506300041

New type of tiny dinosaur egg unearthed in Hyogo

By TAKESHI ITO/ Staff Writer

SANDA, Hyogo Prefecture–Fossilized fragments of very small dinosaur eggs dating back about 110 million years have been discovered.

The pieces are from a new, unknown type of dinosaur egg and were extracted from a strata in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture, that dates to the early Cretaceous Period, the Museum of Nature and Human Activities announced on June 29.

“The finding shows various dinosaurs, including both small and large ones, inhabited areas around there,” said Kohei Tanaka, 29, a graduate student of the University of Calgary in Canada.

The scientists estimate the weight of each egg would have been 100 grams, slightly heavier than that of a hen’s. They said the size of the eggs is among the smallest compared with that of other dinosaur eggs.

The unearthed eggshells are double-layered and measure 0.44 millimeter thick. Based on a unique tree branch-like pattern on the surface, the prefecture-run museum concluded they are a new type of dinosaur egg.

The discovered egg was named Nipponoolithus ramosus oogen. et oosp. nov., which basically means branched Japan egg stone in Greek and other languages.

Although it is impossible to identify which species the dinosaur that laid the eggs belong to just from examining fossilized eggshells, the researchers said the fossils resemble eggs of a small bipedal theropod found in Asia and North America that weighs 15 kilograms.

Ninety fragments of fossilized eggshells were found in a four-year excavation that researchers at the museum in Sanda began in 2007. After an analysis of 70 of the 90 pieces, it was found that eight are of the new type of egg.

They were found within a short distance from the site where bones of Tambatitanis amicitiae, one of the largest herbivores found in Japan, were unearthed in 2006.

The other fragments are thought to be eggshells of three other theropods and an ornithopod, according to the scientists.

The findings have been published in the online edition of the earth science journal Cretaceous Research. The eggshells are to go on display at the museum from July 21.

Fossilized fragments of a new type of dinosaur egg have been found in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture. The egg is characterized by a unique branch-like pattern on the surface. The scale is graduated in millimeters. (Takeshi Ito)

Fossilized fragments of a new type of dinosaur egg have been found in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture. The egg is characterized by a unique branch-like pattern on the surface. The scale is graduated in millimeters. (Takeshi Ito)

Fossilized fragments of a new type of dinosaur egg have been found in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture. The egg is characterized by a unique branch-like pattern on the surface. The scale is graduated in millimeters. (Takeshi Ito)

An artist’s rendition of a fully-grown dinosaur that would have laid eggs unearthed in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture ((c) Masato Hattori)

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