Curious

Man thought he found ‘DINOSAUR EGG,’ experts believe it’s from 10,000-year-old mammal shell

In an incredible discovery, a man in Argentina found a gigantic “egg” in his farm, measuring 3 feet (one meter) long. Upon scientific investigation, the fossil turned out to be the shell of an ancient animal.

Jose Antonio Nievas, a farmer in Carlos Spegazzini near Buenos Aires, was walking on his family farm during the Christmas holidays in 2015 when he came across an “egg” measuring three feet long. He had thought it was a giant black dinosaur egg half-buried in the mud, near a riverbed, and rushed back home to inform his family.

“My husband went out to the car and when he came back he said, ‘Hey, I just found an egg that looks like it came from a dinosaur.’ We all laughed because we thought it was a joke,” said Nievas’s wife, Coronel, the Daily Mail reported.

A palaeontologist said that it might be from the shell of a glyptodont, a prehistoric kind of giant armadillo. “There is no doubt that it looks like a glyptodont,” Dr. Alejandro Kramarz from the Bernadino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum, told the Daily Mail.

It is believed that glyptodonts became extinct 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Dr. Kramarz added that “it is very common to find their fossils in this region.”

Professor Adrian Lister of the Natural History Museum, London, told the Daily Mail that it is common to find fossils hidden in the banks of rivers and streams, as the water will gradually erode the bank to expose ancient shells and bones.

“The finder would first have spotted a small area of the shell exposed in the stream bank and then by digging, exposed the whole thing,” Professor Lister added.

“This scenario is supported by the green staining on the shell, just in the area where it might first have been exposed to the stream, even with a kind of ‘tide mark’ on it. It would be an ingenious hoaxer who would construct such a thing,” he said.

Dr. Ross MacPhee, a curator in the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Mammalogy, agreed: “It looks real enough. Complete shells are rarely found, but they do occur.”

He went on to explain why: “The photo is not clear enough to say anything about the pattern of osteoderms that make up the shell, which is how species are identified. You are looking at the animal’s rear—the gap is just breakage and the head end faces away into the cliff.”

“The deposit looks like loess, or poorly consolidated wind-transported silt/clay, which is ubiquitous in parts of Argentina and suggests a Pleistocene age. The animal might have been buried, or possibly it dug into the deposit and died there. Late surviving glyptos were large, and this looks like a big boy. Nice find,” Dr. MacPhee added.

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