Discovery

Paleontologists Extract 30 Preserved Titanosaur Eggs From 2-Ton Fossilized Dinosaur Nest in Northern Spain

TIMEJanuary 25, 2022

A team of paleontologists last fall completed the extraction of two dinosaur nests containing some 30 fossilized titanosaur eggs at a site in Loarre, in northern Spain—the continuation of an earlier 2020 campaign.

The fossil gathering project was led by the Aragosaurus-IUCA Group of the University of Zaragoza and the Portuguese NOVA University Lisbon, with 25 paleontologist and student participants from Spanish, Portuguese, and German institutions.

This latest extraction work in September 2021 involved removal of one large nest, containing at least 12 eggs, conglomerated into a mass of rock that weighed over two tons. In 2020, the block was protected with cellulose and plaster and reinforced with a metal structure to facilitate later removal.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Carmen Nuñez Lahuerta via University of Zaragoza)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Carmen Nuñez Lahuerta via University of Zaragoza)

The eggs themselves are spherical in shape, each measuring about 15 centimeters (approx. 6 inches) across, according to the University of Zaragoza. They are in an optimal state for conservation and were grouped in such a way that suggests the possibility of several nests. Including these 12, the entire campaign collected 30 dinosaur eggs; which according to preliminary analysis, probably belonged to a titanosaur sauropod dinosaur, a quadruped herbivore that lived 66 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, and could have measured 66 feet in length.

“In total, five people dedicated eight hours a day for 50 days to excavate the nest, which was finally removed with the help of a bulldozer,” said director of the excavation Miguel Moreno-Azanz of NOVA University Lisbon. In addition to this latest chunk of rock, 10 smaller pieces were also extracted in 2021.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Carmen Nuñez Lahuerta via University of Zaragoza)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Carmen Nuñez Lahuerta via University of Zaragoza)

After removal from the excavation site, the fossils were transported to a temporary warehouse in the Loarre municipality—where they will stay until construction of a future Laboratory-Museum in the nearby city of Huesca, which will display them, is completed in the spring of 2022.

The museum will feature two exhibition rooms and highlight the methodology behind the complex paleontological campaign; visitors will be able to witness live researchers performing work on actual specimens from the Loarre site, as well as replica dinosaur eggs from other parts of the world.

“It is expected that next spring, the space will open its doors to visitors, who will be able to follow the process of preparing and studying the fossils of this site in person,” Moreno-Azanza said. “The museum has two exhibition rooms where the methodology of a complex paleontological excavation will be explained.”

The space will also serve as a satellite exhibit for the Museum of Natural Sciences of the University of Zaragoza. It was donated by the Loarre city council and was financed by local municipalities and governments.

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Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.