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Villagers find fossilized dinosaur eggs while ploughing fields

February 11, 1997

PISDURA, India (AP) _ Indian villagers throught they were stumbling over rocks as they ploughed their wheat and cotton fields _ but scientists were thrilled to find fossilized dinosaur eggs.

Villagers had been finding the oval-shaped eggs _ six inches long and three inches wide _ over the past several years in Pisdura, 440 miles northeast of Bombay, but researchers were only recently alerted.

``The villagers did not know the importance of the fossils,″ said Dr. Gyani Badam, a paleontologist from nearby Deccan College.

Villagers also found fossilized bones and droppings in their green and yellow fields. In all, more than 300 dinosaur eggs in clusters of four to 10 were unearthed.

``What is it to me? These are just like stones. People come in cars to take them away. They look like animal bones, but it had to be a very big animal,″ said farmer Kisna Dadmal.

Badam said the dinosaurs who laid the eggs lived 65 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, when such creatures were dying out. Studying such late-period remains could provide clues about what led to the end of the dinosaurs.

The dinosaur embryos in the eggs could have been suffocated in volcanic eruptions. It will be six months before samples sent last week to laboratories for biochemical analysis will provide details about the dinosaurs’ size, eating habits and the environment in which they lived.

Studies of surrounding rock and plant fossils have shown that the four-legged, long-necked vegetarian dinosaurs fed on conifers and tree ferns on the Indian peninsula.

Scientists were called in to study the fossils by Vikas Amte, a doctor and environmentalist who supervises a self-help handicraft project for lepers and handicapped people near Pisdura.

`The area should be cordoned off. Every dinosaur site is of international importance. It should be converted into a Jurassic Park,″ said Amte.

Tools, carvings and ornaments dating back to the Stone Age were found in villages near Pisdura in the early 1990s.

Sea shells of varying sizes have also been found, which led researchers to believe that the area, now far inland, was earlier a coastal plane and volcanic eruptions uplifted the land.

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