Home / Funny / Viral / Long Believed Agate Crystal Turns Out To Be Rare Dinosaur Egg Fossil


Since 1883, a stunning pink and white agate crystal has been kept in the Natural History Museum's archives in London. The lovely stone was chosen by minerals curator Robin Hansen for the institution's 2018 exhibition. A dealer told Hansen that the agate he found several months later was actually an agatised dinosaur egg. After realising what he might have found, Hansen and museum personnel have verified that the rock is, in fact, an egg from a dinosaur that has been filled with agate crystal over millions of years. 

"A dealer showed me an agatised dinosaur egg, which was spherical, had a thin rind, and dark agate in the middle," Hansen said in a statement. "I was looking around the show," Hansen said. "That's when it dawned on me, 'Hey, that looks a lot like the one we just put on display in the Museum!'" Professor Paul Barrett and Dr Susannah Maidment, palaeontologists from the museum, looked at it. The "rock" was observed to have an exterior texture akin to an egg from a dinosaur. It also had the spherical shape and dimensions of a titanosaur egg (15 cm / 5.9 inches across). During the Cretaceous epoch, a species of dinosaurs known as titanosaurs roamed the earth with four legs and elongated necks.

The dense rock material made additional CT scan tests useless. On the other hand, marks that indicate the object was placed next to others of a similar size and shape are pressed into the surface. All of these elements allude to the unexpected reality. It is also believed that the object is roughly 67 million years old. Charles Fraser made the discovery in India between 1817 and 1843. Titanosaur fossils are abundant in India, despite the absence of other dinosaur species on the ancient island landmass. The resemblance of the "agate" to a titanosaur egg is convincing enough for researchers, even though its discoverers in the 19th century would not have recognised it as such. 

So how did agate crystals get inside a fossilised dinosaur egg? The mother titanosaur is thought to have placed her clutch of eggs on top of warm volcanic soil to hatch, but it's also possible that a volcano covered the eggs before they could. The material inside the eggshells would have eventually rotted away, forming basalt rock around them. The museum states that as a result of this unfortunate event, "silica-rich water must have repeatedly percolated through the rock and the eggshell." The banded agate specimen that was eventually unearthed tens of millions of years later was created as a result of this filling the gap. The outcome is an unexpectedly exquisite artefact that combines palaeontology and mineralogy. 

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