A strange fossil found in Antarctica nearly a decade ago has finally been identified,media reported. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have determined that the object is a giant softshell egg, most likely produced by an ancient marine reptile. The strange fossil has been stored in the back room of Chile’s National Museum of Natural History since it was discovered in 2011. It looks like a flattened rugby, 11 inches (27.9 cm) long and 7 inches (17.8 cm) wide.
But now, an analysis of the fossil by a team at the University of Texas at Austin has revealed that it is likely the remains of a soft-shelled egg left behind by the cub’s broken shell. The layers of film seen under the microscope are an important clue. But this is not an ordinary egg — it is the second largest known animal and the largest softshell egg ever. It dates back about 66 million years — just before the dinosaurs died out.
“It comes from a large dinosaur-sized animal, but it’s nothing like a dinosaur egg,” said Lucas Legendre, lead author of the study. “It’s most similar to the eggs of lizards or snake eggs, but it’s a really huge relative of these animals. “
The researchers believe this is most likely to belong to an extinct marine reptile, the Dragon. The researchers came to this conclusion by comparing the relative body and egg size of 259 live reptiles. Based on the size of the egg, the researchers calculated that the reptile that laid the egg must have a body length of more than 23 feet (7 meters) — excluding its tail.
The dragon meets this condition, both because of its size and because of its relationship with organisms of similar spawning types. This was supported by the discovery of fossils of tyrannurinis elongator cubs and adult dragons, as well as snake-necked dragons, in the same Antarctic rock formations as the eggs.
“Many authors assume that this is a shallow-water protected ‘nursery’, a bay environment where the little ones will grow up in a quiet environment. Legendre said.
The study was published in the journal Nature.