Dinosaur Eggs

University of Bristol

Sauropod eggs

Sauropod eggs are usually spherical to sub-spherical in shape with a nodular surface and a spherulitic microstructure (eggshell units arranged in spheroids).

A sauropod egg.

This type of eggshell is widely distributed, known from Spain, France and South America (Morratalla, 1994). Many of the eggs have been attributed to titanosaurs (large sometimes armoured sauropods) because of the large size of the eggs, 18 cm long and containing up to 5.5 litres, and the presence of titanosaur bones in the same strata.

The shell is typically thick, up to 5 mm (Morratalla, 1994). It has been suggested that the thick eggshell would protect the embryo from predators and perhaps also serve as an adaptation for lack of parental care. There is a well developed pore system within the shell, so air can pass into the shell for the embryo to breathe. The thicker the shell becomes the more important a well-developed pore structure becomes, or the animal will die.

The shell is composed of very long thin crystalline units. Units on the surface may branch or be part of a dichotomy (Powell, 1985). Eggs of Hypselosaurus have a multi-directional ornamentation.

Nest of hatched eggs from Rennes-le-Chateau France. These eggs were laid in arcuate nests.

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