"The discovery shows that the area was a habitat for dinosaurs. Due to natural disasters and continental changes, they became extinct. We need to undertake an in-depth archaeological investigation to get more information on the findings," Loyola College zoology department's faculty member M Selvanayagam said.
A group of researchers, including students, led by Periyar University geology lecturer MU Ramkumar discovered the cluster of eggs.
"We found clusters and clusters of spherical-shaped eggs of dinosaurs. Each cluster contained eight eggs. Each egg was about 13 to 20 cm in diameter and they were lying in sandy nests which were 1.25 metres in size," he said.
"We always knew that dinosaurs once roamed the area as fossils had been found there on earlier expeditions. But this is the first time that hundreds of nests embedded with clusters of dinosaur eggs have been unearthed in the district," he said.
"We had earlier documented the presence of a dinosaur nesting sites in a two-square-km area. It may perhaps qualify to be the largest-ever known site in India in terms of area, egg clusters, nesting pits and repeated occurrence of these features in various layers of the earth. We got really excited. As I had previously seen a dinosaur egg, I was sure that we had unearthed dinosaur eggs," he said.
Preliminary investigations showed that the eggs could belong to the aggressive Carnosaur and the docile, leaf-eating Sauropod species.
"We suspect that the dinosaurs might have become extinct due to volcanic eruptions in the Deccan Plateau and due to sustained flooding," sources said.
Ariyalur and neighbouring Perambalur (Ariyalur was carved out of Perambalur) districts are well known for their rich fossils and diversity.
British geologists first recorded the presence of dinosaur bones there in the 1860s. More than 150 years later, a dinosaur egg was found in a cement factory of the state-owned Tamil Nadu Cements Ltd in the 1990s.
But officials realised it was a dinosaur egg only 10 years later.
The latest discovery on the banks of a river in the Cauvery Basin is the first evidence of a dinosaur habitation in the region, the sources said.
Copyright 2009 DNA Media, distributed by Contify.com
"Eggciting find: TN was once a dino habitat." DNA [Daily News & Analysis] 1 Oct. 2009. Educator's Reference Complete. Web. 2 June 2010.
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