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Madhya Pradesh

One of the Largest Dinosaur Hatcheries in the World Uncovered

  • 31 Jan 2024
  • 4 min read

Why in News?

According to recent discoveries by paleontologists, Madhya Pradesh, is home to one of the largest dinosaur hatcheries in the world.

Key Points

  • The state’s Narmada Valley, which spans several districts, has yielded hundreds of fossilised dinosaur eggs and nests, belonging to the herbivorous Titanosaurs, one of the largest known dinosaurs.
  • The most recent discovery was made in the Lameta Formation of the Dhar district, where a team of paleontologists from various institutes found 92 closely located dinosaur nests and 256 eggs with each clutch containing between one and twenty eggs, dating back to about 66 million years ago.
    • The eggs ranged from 15 to 17 cm in diameter, and each nest contained one to 20 eggs. Some of the eggs showed evidence of hatching, while others did not.
  • The Lameta Formation is of Maastrichtian age (Late Cretaceous), and is also found in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.
    • It is notable for its diversity of dinosaur genera, including the titanosaur sauropod Isisaurus and the abelisaurus Indosaurus, Indosuchus, Laevisuchus, and Rajasaurus.
    • The Lameta Formation also contains fossils of mammals, snakes, and other animals.
    • The prehistoric structure represents the last phase of dinosaur evolution in India, before their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period.
  • The team, led by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Delhi, published their findings in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
    • They concluded that the Narmada Valley was a dinosaur hatchery zone, where the Titanosaurs either came specifically to lay eggs or also hatched them.
    • They also suggested that the area had a warm and humid climate, with abundant vegetation and water sources, suitable for the dinosaurs’ survival.
    • Previous studies have also reported similar findings in the Jabalpur district and the Gujarat town of Balasinor.
  • Some of the fossilized eggs found in the Dhar district were not recognized as such by the local villagers, who had been worshiping them as sacred stones for generations.
    • These palm-sized objects, known as ‘Kakar Bhairav’ or the lord of the land, were believed to be the protective deities of farms and livestock.
  • The discovery of dinosaur fossils and eggs in Madhya Pradesh has not only enriched the scientific knowledge of the region’s palaeontological history, but also opened up new avenues for tourism and education.
    • The state government has plans to develop the sites as tourist attractions, and to create awareness among the public about the state’s rich dinosaur heritage.

Lameta Formation

  • The Lameta Formation, also known as the Infratrappean Beds (not to be confused with the contemporaneous Intertrappean Beds), is a sedimentary geological formation found in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, India, associated with the Deccan Traps.
    • The Intertrappean Beds are a Late Cretaceous and Early Paleocene geologic formation in India. The beds are found as interbeds between Deccan Traps layers, including the more diverse Lameta Formation.

Maastrichtian age (Late Cretaceous)

  • The Maastrichtian is, in the ICS geologic time scale, the latest age (uppermost stage) of the Late Cretaceous Epoch or Upper Cretaceous Series, the Cretaceous Period or System, and of the Mesozoic Era or Erathem. It spanned the interval from 72.1 to 66 million years ago.
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