As children, we all loved to play pretend. We pretended to be superheroes fighting crime, doctors saving lives, or sometimes scientists making amazing discoveries.
For a ten-year-old boy in China, making an incredible discovery wasn’t a game of pretend at all. Last summer while playing near his home, science-loving Zhang Yangzhe discovered a nest containing 66-million-year-old dinosaur eggs.
Boy Discovers Nest of Dinosaur Eggs
Yangzhe lives in the city of Heyuan in the Guangdong province of China. One afternoon in July of 2019 while playing on the bank of the Dong River, he noticed some odd-looking rocks. He was looking for tools to crack open walnut shells when he spotted what he thought was a piece of rock that “looked special”.
Upon further inspection, he had a hunch that it might be an ancient dinosaur egg. He has a keen interest in dinosaurs and had read many books about them, so he had a pretty good idea of what a dinosaur egg might look like. He called his mother, Li Xiaofang, over to have a look.
Yangzhe showed it to his mother, explaining that he remembered the pattern from a recent to a local museum’s dinosaur exhibit. Xiaofang agreed, so they called the police and then stood guard at the site until the authorities arrived.
Experts from the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum confirmed that the rock was, in fact, a fossilized dinosaur egg. They excavated the site further and found 11 more eggs, meaning that Yangzhe had discovered a nesting site. The eggs are believed to be from the cretaceous period some 66-million years ago, just before the mass extinction happened. The type of dinosaur is not yet known.
A Province Full of Prehistoric Treasures
It wasn’t much of a stretch for young Yangzhe to suspect that the strange-looking rock might be a dinosaur egg. Heyuan is known as “The Home of the Dinosaurs” due to the number of fossils and fossilized dinosaur remains that have been discovered there.
The first-ever dinosaur eggs to be found and recorded in the city was in March of 1996, also near the Dong River. Since that day, more than 17,000 eggs have been found throughout the city, including 43 that were dug out by construction workers laying new sewage pipes under the roads back in 2015.
Each of the 11 eggs discovered by Yangzhe is about nine centimeters, or three and a half inches, in length. They have been added to the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum’s collection of over 10,000 dinosaur eggs, the largest collection in the world.