A paleontological surprise may be hiding in your Easter basket. New research indicates that some grocery-store eggs are remarkably similar in shape to a newly discovered dinosaur egg, instead of the traditional chicken egg.
"Where do Easter eggs come from? At face value this is a simple question, but any parent trying to provide an answer this Easter might struggle to come up with a satisfactory response," Mark Purnell, a researcher at the University of Leicester, said in a statement. "According to many, the eggs are delivered by the Easter Bunny, but that doesn't really address the question: where does the Easter Bunny get them from?"
The research started as an analysis of a newly discovered 70-million-year-old egg, one that would've been laid by a mama dinosaur during the Late Cretaceous when Tyrannosaurus rex walked the Earth. The researchers named the new species, whose egg was discovered in the Pyrenees, Sankofa Pyrenaica. (Sankofa is an Ashanti word meaning "learning from the past.")
To figure out if the egg belonged to an ancient bird or its dinosaur relatives, the team compared the shapes of eggs from birds and dinosaurs. They came up with a mathematical formula to determine and describe all possible egg shapes; next they plotted real eggs, based on size and shape, into this "egg morphospace."
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