17/08/2012 Lanzarote (BG) - Following the discovery of fossilised ratite eggs on the island back in 2011, two more considerably large eggs have now been discovered in Órzola. The eggs date back more than 5 million years but as of yet there is no official explanation as to how they arrived on Lanzarote.
This latest discovery is part of a new project in 2012 but nobody seem to know how exactly the eggs came to rest on Lanzarote. The oldest islands date back about 20 million years, while these eggs are products of the ostrich family who unfortunately lost the ability to fly approximately 90 million years ago.
Experts have dated the eggs to between 5.3 and 6 million years old. One theory being explored is that the eggs emerged from the oceanic crust during the eruptions although there is no evidence of this happening anywhere else in the world.
The eggs were unearthed in the area known as Valle Grand, a kilometer away from Órzola in the very north of the island.The project was carried out by a team of researchers and paleontology experts led by Antonio Sánchez Marco, an expert in bird fossils, and Miguel Crusafont, a doctor from the Institutio Catalán de Paleontología de Barcelona.
Previous excavations carried out as part of the Nacimiento del Neógeno continental de Órzola-Famara project in 2010 and 2011 revealed evidence of eggs, snakes and tortoises. One of the newly discovered eggs is almost complete in size and will be transferred to the Institute of Paleontology in Barcelona to be analysed. Researchers are eager to find out if the egg contains a fossilsed embryo.
Lanzarote first emerged as a source of interest for researchers in this scientific field back in 1964 when two German researchers discovered eggshells related to Struthio and Aepyornitido. The island hit the headlines again in 1985 when Dutch experts Gittenberger and Ripken carried out a study on the gastropods and confirmed four new species, Pupoides orzolae, Theba orzolae, Leptaxis orzolae and Canariella orzolae.
More information on ‘The riddle of giant birds on the island of Lanzarote’ can be found here.