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Once upon a time...

Once upon a time...

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Some female carnivorous dinosaurs would every year gather to lay their eggs near the gentle waters of a lagoon. One year, seven females arrived. The youngest was six metres in length while the oldest measured somewhere in the region of eight metres. After choosing a site close to where they had been the previous year, the first female laid a score of eggs. Very close by with each egg around 12 cm in diameter. The other female dinosaurs followed her in the course of the next hours. The nest was to end up a gigantic concentration of over 180 carnivorous dinosaur eggs.

These dinosaurs remained to protect the nest against egg eaters such as crocodiles, lizards and even other dinosaurs. Nevertheless, one average sized crocodile was able to snake through into this precious pile of eggs avoiding any dinosaur detection. However, this crocodile's interest was not to steal but rather to swiftly lay her own eggs in among those of the dinosaurs. This female crocodile, having completed her task, left leaving her eggs in the care of the carnivorous dinosaurs.

Time passed and, apart from the loss of the occasional egg to predators, the embryos swiftly grew within their protective shells. While heavy showers were common to the region of that time, in this particular year it rained far more than usual. In fact, it did not stop and the lagoon began creeping inland and reached and covered the precious nest of dinosaur eggs asphyxiating the eggs and the embryonic dinosaurs contained within.

Octávio Mateus (Palaeontologist, Nova University of Lisbon / Museum of Lourinhã).


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