Fossilized dinosaur eggs have been discovered by workers at a construction site in China.
Members of the crew were upgrading a road when they came across the 43 ancient specimens, 19 of which were found in completely intact condition. The largest of these eggs has a diameter of around five inches, according to Du Yanli, the director of a dinosaur museum in the city where the eggs were found.
Heyun, a city of nearly 3 million people, is known to local residents as the "Home of the Dinosaurs" as more than 17,000 egg fragments have been discovered in the region since 1996. This area is home to the world's largest collection of dinosaur eggs, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This new discovery is the first to be found in the central region of the city. Researchers believe the red sandstone formations that surround the city helped to preserve large numbers of the fossils, which have proved to be invaluable to paleontologists studying dinosaur life in the region.
The eggs are believed to date from the late Cretaceous period, which began 89 million years ago, lasting until 65 million years before our time at the end of the age of dinosaurs. They sat underground until being accidentally discovered by the construction workers on April 19.
The Heyuan Museum in the city has more than 10,000 dinosaur eggs in its possession, the largest collection in the world.
The ancient fossils have been shipped to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where researchers will work at identifying the species that laid the eggs.
During the late Cretaceous period, a great number of dinosaur species evolved as the animals diversified. Horned dinosaurs as well as the duck-billed Ankylosaurs were common throughout eastern Asia, along with a version of the famous Tyrannosaurus rex that was smaller than its cousins living in North America. Therizinosaurs, noted for their long necks, populated the region, alongside Pachycephalosaurs and the bird-like Dromaeosauridae. Following the collision of an asteroid the size of Mount Everest with the Earth more than 65 million years ago, only bird-like dinosaurs survived, leading to the wealth of bird species we see today.
"Du was quoted as saying that it was possible that many other dinosaur remains would be found in sandstone beds around the city and that construction projects should be halted if fossils were unearthed," the South China Morning Post reported.
In 2004, police in China detained a farmer who discovered the fossilized remains of 557 dinosaur eggs on his land but did not report his findings to the proper authorities.