Locals steal Eggs from Newly Discovered Dinosaur Nesting Site in India
A newly discovered Late Cretaceous dinosaur nesting site has been raided by locals and souvenir hunters in a scramble (no egg based pun intended) to get hold of these precious ancient artefacts. A sauropod nesting site, found by chance as a team of geologists were studying a river bed in the Indian province of Tamil Nadu has been raided with many of the fossils taken and parts of the site disturbed and crucial data lost.
Locals broke in after the government announced the discovery of the nesting site which is thought date from the very end of the Age of Reptiles. Many of the football-sized eggs have been taken as locals hunted for souvenirs and also for fossils to put up for sale to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, the raiding of palaeontological dig sites is an all too common occurrence, making many scientists afraid of publishing information about their discoveries in case they encourage “tomb robbers”.
It was a week ago when we reported the exciting news of the discovery of a vast sauropod nesting site. The majority of the eggs never hatched and show signs of having been covered by volcanic ash. Could this be evidence of volcanic activity affecting the breeding cycles of dinosaurs? Perhaps environmental stress made many animals sterile or could the area have been covered in fine ash and this led to the death of the embryos and the dinosaurs never hatched?
To read the original article: Treasure Trove of Dinosaur Eggs found in India.
Shortly after their discovery and the confirmation they were fossilised eggs, scientists leading the project called for increased security but unfortunately none was provided, leaving the site unguarded. Unfortunately, with the raids, a lot of valuable data will have been lost. Such a find is extremely important, the site could well prove to be the largest dinosaur nesting site ever found on the sub-continent but the damage caused by trophy hunters could seriously undermine the work of the researchers.
Let us hope that the authorities are able to put a stop to these raids and protect the fossils. Whilst it may be tempting to try to steal a fossil, new fossil tracing techniques are being developed by scientists, these could help determine legitimately sourced fossils for sale at auction and those that have found their way into private sales and auctions via the black market. Hopefully, these new techniques and stricter policing will deter would be thieves.