Uncovered eggs found in dinosaur graveyard shows they moved in herds

Eggs belonging to an early species of dinosaurs known is the earliest evidence of herd behaviour from the prehistoric reptiles.

Palaeontologists made the 'sensational' discovery of chicken-sized eggs from the Mussaurus Patagonicus that once occupied Argentina.

Over 100 dinosaur eggs with their embryos still inside, dating back 193 million years, were dug up in southern Patagonia, according to research published in Scientific Reports.

The site also contained the fossils of bones of around 80 juveniles and adults all belonging to the same species.

Experts say that the site is the earliest evidence that the long-necked herbivore moved in herds, according to Sputnik.

The plant-eater is estimated to have been able to grow to 6 metres in length and weighed over a tonne in the early Jurassic period.

Egidio Feruglio Palaeontology Museum researcher, Diego Pol said: "I went to this site aiming to find at least one nice dinosaur skeleton. We ended up with 80 skeletons and more than 100 eggs (some with embryos preserved inside!)"

Researchers previously believed that herd behaviour was only attributed to dinosaurs which existed later in the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods.

Co-author Dr Jahandar Ramezani said: “We’ve now observed and documented this earliest social behaviour in dinosaurs… This raises the question now of whether living in a herd may have had a major role in dinosaurs’ early evolutionary success.

"This gives us some clues to how dinosaurs evolved."

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The news comes as six-year-old Julian Gagnon was walking with his family at the aptly named Dinosaur HillNature Preserve in Michigan, US, last month when he found what was left of a mastodon.

"I just felt something on my foot and I grabbed it up, and it kind of looked like a tooth," Julian told WDIV-TV.

Mastodons are distant evolutionary relatives of modern-day elephants and inhabited North and Central America up until their extinction some 12,000 years ago.

It is thought that the largest mastodons reached around 2.9m (9.5ft) in height and could weigh around 11 tonnes.

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