Abstract

Exceptionally preserved sauropod eggshells discovered in Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) deposits in Patagonia, Argentina, contain skeletal remains and soft tissues of embryonic Titanosaurid dinosaurs. To preserve these labile embryonic remains, the rate of mineral precipitation must have superseded post-mortem degradative processes, resulting in virtually instantaneous mineralization of soft tissues. If so, mineralization may also have been rapid enough to retain fragments of original biomolecules in these specimens. To investigate preservation of biomolecular compounds in these well-preserved sauropod dinosaur eggshells, we applied multiple analytical techniques. Results demonstrate organic compounds and antigenic structures similar to those found in extant eggshells.

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