This is a remarkable find. It appeared in a site in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz (Argentina). The nest of dinosaur eggs contains more than 100 specimens. There are also 80 dinosaur skeletons. It is the first record of complex social behavior of this species.
“This was the nesting site. Here we found more than 100 dinosaur eggs. Some with fossilized embryos. There are over 80 skeletons including newly hatched chicks. In addition, juveniles of 1 year old, sub-adults of around 5 years old and adults of more than 10 years old”. Paleontologist Diego Pol, from the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (Conicet), tells this story.
The finding was published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature. It occurred in a site in the area of El Tranquilo.
The first remains of fossilized nests and eggs from this site were discovered half a century ago. It was around the 1960s. It happened during a campaign led by the Argentine paleontologist José Bonaparte.
This is how the first known fossils of Mussaurus patagonicus were found. It is a primitive dinosaur ancestor of the large long-necked dinosaurs. And it lived in the early Jurassic, 192 million years ago.
The remains now found belong to the same species. They cover an area of one square kilometer.
“The dinosaur egg nest is a place we interpret as a breeding colony. Year after year all these animals congregated there during the breeding season. We were able to infer that the chosen site was located near a dry lake,” said Pol. He is investigating this colony of herbivores together with an international interdisciplinary team. They have been working on it for 15 years.
Five Argentine researchers from the Conicet and three others from South Africa, the United States and France took part in this scientific work. They do not rule out that the investigated area will expand even more. Then, there may be even more surprises.