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Scientists Study Ancient Turtle Egg Laid 90 Million Years Ago That Never Hatched

By: Buzz Staff

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Last Updated: August 20, 2021, 21:06 IST

The analysis of the egg and its rare embryo is the first time that scientists are coming to know about the dinosaur-era’s giant turtle. (Image for representation/Shutterstock)

The analysis of the egg and its rare embryo is the first time that scientists are coming to know about the dinosaur-era’s giant turtle. (Image for representation/Shutterstock)

The egg is little smaller than a tennis ball, the measurement of the egg did not include the neck or the head, but the scientists assumed that the mother turtle would have been the size of a human.

The age of dinosaurs still remains an enigma for scientists across the world as newer discoveries unravel mysteries every day. As anthropologists and paleontologist come up with fresh digs from that period, it keeps adding to the puzzle of the time when the world was inhabited by the huge vertebrates. A similar incident happened in 2018, when a farmer in China’s Henan province submitted an egg, which he thought to be from a dinosaur, to a he University.

Apparently, a turtle laid many eggs with extremely thick shells and one of them never hatched – it stayed put through 90 millions of years and now is being studied by the scientists. The analysis of the egg and its rare embryo is the first time that scientists are coming to know about the dinosaur-era’s giant turtle.

The specimen also sheds light on why the terrestrial turtle Yuchelys nanyangensis went extinct around 66 million years ago during the cretaceous period – they fell victim to the dinosaur-killing asteroid that struck the earth. But the egg allowed the water to enter and it was preserved through the nests, which was buried underground which in turn provided it with moisture and kept it intact.

Darla Zelenitsky, an associate professor of paleobiology at the University of Calgary in Canada told Live Science in an interview that the turtles could survive most of cretaceous period because of their strong shells, but however, could not adapt to the extreme cold climatic conditions during the end of the period. Soon they went extinct.

The find, the egg, was found in the Henan, which is famous for excavating a lot of fossils from the dinosaur period. Sized at 2.1 by 2.3 inches (5.4 by 5.9 centimeters), the egg is little smaller than a tennis ball. The measurement of the egg did not include the neck or the head, but the scientists assumed that the mother turtle would have been the size of a human.

The researchers also conducted a CT-scan to see that the embryo of the egg had been 85% developed. They told the publication that the turtles, which are relatives of the present river turtles, were flat and were structured to live entirely on land.

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first published:August 20, 2021, 20:51 IST
last updated:August 20, 2021, 21:06 IST