A mysterious fossil discovered on the Seymour Island near the Antarctica’s coast which looked similar to a ‘deflated football’ is actually a unique find said the scientists.
The 68-million-year-old fossil is basically the world’s second biggest egg that might have belonged to a big marine reptile which lived along with the dinosaurs.
Measuring 8 x 11 inch, the fossilized egg is just slightly small in size than the egg of the huge ‘flightless’ elephant bird from Madagascar which went extinct just in the last several centuries, said the scientists on Wednesday.
Though the eggs of crocodilians, birds and several dinosaurs were hard-shelled, the egg found in the Antarctic had a parchment-like, soft shell.
As per study lead author, Lucas Legendre from the Texas University, this egg is the first ever fossil egg discovered from Antarctic and is the biggest egg with a soft-shell ever discovered.
It is collapsed, elongated just like a deflated football, with several folds and creases on its outer surface. Its shell is extremely thin as well as poorly mineralized, just like the eggs of snakes and lizards.
The scientists suspect that the egg fossil belongs to the long-necked pleasiosaurs and marine lizards known as mosasaurs- the only creatures to lay such type of egg in Antarctic back then.
The study appears in the ‘Nature’ journal.