Rock collected 175 years ago turns out to be 60-million-year-old dinosaur egg

The exquisitely conserved agate specimen, which a Charles Fraser had brought back from central India, was delivered to the museum in 1883.

We occasionally are unable to see what is directly in front of us. At the Natural History Museum in London, that is precisely what took place.

A mineral fragment that had been contentedly residing in the mineralogy collection of the museum for 175 years was actually a dinosaur embryo. The exhibit claims that the agate originated inside a 60 million year old dinosaur embryo.

According to a news statement, Charles Fraser brought this exquisitely preserved specimen of agate to the museum in 1883 after collecting it in central India.

Species-specific titanosaur egg

This strangely spherical agate was discovered in the collection by mineral keeper Robin Hansen. Later, Hansen brought the fossil to Paul Barrett and Susannah Maidment, the museum's dinosaur specialists, for additional study.

They found that the agate features had characteristics of a dinosaur egg, including size, form, and substance. To ascertain if it was an egg or not, the researchers used CT scans to check for smaller features.

The egg belonged to a titanosaur, which wandered India during the Cretaceous era, according to close study. The exterior texture of the specimen indicated clutches, verifying the genus. The ova of this species were tiny, and it produced clutches of many eggs as opposed to just one. Additionally, this egg resembled the titanosaur embryos found in China and Argentina.

The research team thinks that the local volcanic action is what caused the agatized embryo to develop. The dinosaur embryos may have been buried by a volcanic eruption after they were deposited. The agate may have formed soon after the silicates leached inside the eggshells.

But how did it end up in the library of mineralogy? The team claims that since dinosaur embryos were not officially acknowledged at the time, this one may be the very first.

"This instance is a prime illustration of the significance of museum holdings. Using the science that was accessible at the time, it was properly classified as an agate in 1883. The agate has filled this spherical structure, which turns out to be a dinosaur egg, and we have only just realized that this example has something extra unique, said Robin in a statement.

In the show Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur, the egg is presently on display.