Editor’s note: “From the vault” features fossils and other dinosaur-related historical artifacts currently stored at Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita, Colo.
Fossilized whole eggs are fairly rare, with the discovery of egg-shell fragments far more likely in this day and age.
Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita, however, hosts a very small, complete egg that was likely “laid by either a small plant-eating ornithopod dinosaur or a small meat-eating theropod dinosaur,” said Julia McHugh, Dinosaur Journey’s curator of paleontology. It was found within the last two years.
The egg is less than four centimeters long, she noted, and it was discovered in Delta County in the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation.
It “is older than fossils from the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in Rabbit Valley,” McHugh added. “ ... We hope to discover more eggs that are better preserved to find out which animal laid them.”
According to McHugh, dinosaur eggs are rare in the fossil record because, since they’re delicate, they’re easily destroyed.
“We are very fortunate to have a locality like this in western Colorado,” she explained. “Our paleontological collections have only a few eggs, not many. We also have some small film canisters filled with egg shell fragments, but these eggs are small; so their fragments are also very small, about the thickness of a business card.”
For more information about Dinosaur Journey Museum, visit www.museumofwesternco.com.