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Indian Sauropod Eggs



PISDURA, India (AP) -- Indian villagers thought they were
stumbling over
rocks as they plowed 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.

Aravind. L