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1.10.09


 
Hundreds Of Dino Egg Clusters Found

Radha Venkatesan | TNN

Coimbatore: Hundreds of fossilised dinosaur eggs have been found underneath a river stream in a tiny hamlet in Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu. Researchers believe the eggs are at least 65 million years old.
   In a chance geological encounter, a team of researchers from the Salembased Periyar University found clusters of eggs of what they believe to be the most aggressive Carnosaur and the docile, leaf-eating Sauropod, at Sendurai village. While Carnosaurs were large predatory dinosaurs, Sauropods were long-necked, herbivorous dinosaurs notable for their enormous size.
   The geological sites of Ariyalur are known to be a treasure trove of dinosaur remains, but it is the first time that hundreds of nests embedded with hundreds of clusters of dinosaur eggs have been unearthed in the district.
   Located on the highway between Chennai and Tiruchi, the Ariyalur and neighbouring Perambalur geological sites nestling in the northern plains of the Cauvery river, are a veritable field museum of ancient organisms, dating back 14 crore years. Ever since a British couple, Mrs and Mr Wine, collected 32 boxes of "strange stone objects" in 1843, the Ariyalur region has drawn geologists from across the world for its rich fossil presence and diversity. Scientists have found the tiniest marine algae or nano fossils, besides rare shellslike bivalve, gastropoda, telecypoda and brachiopoda in the geological sites spread across 950 sqkm in Ariyalur and Perambalur districts.
   "We found clusters and clusters of spherical eggs of dinosaurs. And each cluster contained eight eggs," says Dr Mu Ramkumar, geology lecturer of Periyar University. Each egg is about 13-20 cm in diameter and the clusters were lying in sandy nests of the size of 1.25 metres.

Volcano may have ended dinosaur run

Coimbatore: In the 1860s, a British geologist first recorded the presence of bone remains of dinosaurs in Ariyalur of Tamil Nadu. Over a century-and-half later, the egg of a dinosaur was found in a cement factory of the state-owned Tamil Nadu Cements Ltd in 1990s. But the officials figured out that it was a dinosaur egg only 10 years later!
   On a sultry noon on September 12 this year, Dr Ramkumar, geology lecturer of Periyar University, and his research students went to Ariyalur to scour the rocks and sediments as part of a study funded by Indian and German scientific institutions. As they paused by a river stream on grazing land at Sendurai hamlet, they found spherical-shaped fossils peeping out of the sand beds. "We got really excited. As I have seen a dinosaur egg, I was sure they were dinosaur eggs," says Dr Ramkumar. A quick dig revealed clusters of eggs nestling beneath seven layers of sand, spread over 2 sqkm. The eggs may not have hatched due to the Deccan volcanic eruptions or seasonal flooding, surmises the team. "We suspect the extinction of dinosaurs was triggered by the Deccan volcano, as red bole bed formed by the volcanic ashes cap the eggs," say the researchers.

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