Sunday 26 March 2023

Dutch museum may have discovered rare dinosaur embryo

The scan shows two eggs, with embryo remains at the top of the one on the left

The prehistory Oertijdmuseum in Boxtel, Noord-Brabant, may hold one of the very few dinosaur eggs that contain the remains of an embryo, a CT scan has shown.

The paperwork for the scans of some 30 of the museum’s 182 70 million-year-old eggs, carried out at the Jeroen Bosch hospital in Den Bosch, took about a year to organise, museum curator Maarten de Rijke told broadcaster Omroep Brabant.

The chances of finding embryo material dinosaur eggs are slim, De Rijke said, ‘But we have a total of 182 eggs in the museum, from different types of dinosaur, so we thought you never know’, he said.

As luck would have it, one of the eggs showed up petrified elements that De Rijke believes may be part of an embryo. ‘That would be sensational. There are fewer than a ten of those in the world that we know about,’ he told the broadcaster.

‘Everyone was on tenterhooks. Do we have an egg with an embryo or not? I hope, in the final analysis, that we do. It would be a dream come true,’ De Rijke said

Scans of another two eggs also seemed to contain something but the results were much less clear.

The egg will now undergo further scans in Switzerland so that the museum’s team can try to build a 3D image of the remains.

‘It will be a real puzzle,’ senior curator Jonathan Wallaard told Dutch News. He suspects the egg is from a hadrosaurus, a duck billed dinosaur which inhabited North America some 70 million years ago.

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