Chinese police seize 231 dinosaur eggs in Guangdong Province

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Dinosaurs were wiped out from this world millions of years ago, but the police in China still finds itself sometimes busy seizing dinosaur eggs from smugglers, criminals, and even common villagers.

Chinese police seize 231 dinosaur eggs in Guangdong Province
A total of 231 fossilised dinosaur eggs and skeletal remains were seized from 
a house in China’s Guangdong province, authorities said on Thursday 
[Credit: Xinhua]

China is one of the few countries where a large number of fossil dinosaur eggs have been discovered over the past few years. These fossil eggs belong to Cretaceous Period and are mostly found near inhabited areas.

According to state-run Xinhua news agency, Chinese police, last month, seized a total of 231 eggs from a house in Heyuan city in southern Guangdong Province. Police raided the house on July 29 and recovered fossil eggs as well as a dinosaur skeleton from that house. When police seized the fossilized eggs, they were stacked up under a staircase in the house.

The recovered skeleton is being said to belong to Psittacosaurus class of dinosaurs (a type of ceratopsian dinosaur) that roamed the earth about 65 million years ago. These dinosaurs were plant eaters and grew about two meters in length.

The dinosaur eggs seized by the police were first unearthed at a construction site in June. However, at that time, most of these eggs were stolen by local villagers before scientists or government official could arrive at the site.

Discovery of dinosaur eggs in China is not an unusual event. A large number of dinosaur eggs have been discovered in China in the past decades. The eggs that have been recovered in China belong to different periods and different types of dinosaurs.

Some early documents reveal that the first “scientifically documented” dinosaur eggs were discovered in 1859 in southern France. The person who discovered these eggs was Jean-Jacques Poech – a Catholic priest and an amateur environmentalist. When Poech found these eggs, he thought them to be the eggs laid by some giant bird.

The first “scientifically recognized” dinosaur egg fossils were found in 1923 in Mongolia. These egg fossils were discovered by a team of researchers from American Museum of Natural History. When researchers found these eggs, they were actually looking for evidence of early humans in the region. Since that time, several nesting sites have been found all across the world. In China, a classification system based on the eggshell structure was developed by Chinese paleontologist Zhao Zi-Kui, who developed a system of “parataxonomy” under which eggs were classified based on their physical qualities rather than their hypothesized mothers.

Today, researchers can study dinosaur eggs using a variety of techniques. The eggshell can be studied in thin section, and also viewed under a microscope. CAT scan technique is used to study the interior of a dinosaur egg. The eggshell can also be dissolved away with acid to study the interior of the egg. Some other techniques used to study dinosaur eggs include cathodoluminescence, gel electrophoresis, Geneva lens measure, light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, and X-rays.

In China, the dinosaur fossil eggs are considered to be a state property and are preserved for future generations. Under Chinese laws, it is a criminal offense to trade or possess dinosaur eggs.

Heyuan is a city where a large number of dinosaur eggs have been found. Heyuan is today known as the “hometown of the dinosaur” and boasts a museum with a unique and wide collection of over 10,000 dinosaur eggs. This museum has also been registered in the Guinness Book of World Records for its amazing collection of dinosaur eggs.

According to city authorities, nearly 17,000 fossilized Dinosaur egg fragments have been discovered in Heyuan region. The first discovery was made in 1996 near a river bank.

Author: Devender Kundaliya | Source: BizTek Mojo [August 08, 2015]