- Eocene Age
- Nanxiong Formation
- Bouxwiller, France
- The EGG measures approx. 5/8″ long and is still embedded in the natural matrix.
Egg fossils are the fossilized remains of eggs laid by ancient animals. As evidence of the physiological processes of an animal, egg fossils are considered a type of trace fossil. Under rare circumstances a fossil egg may preserve the remains of the once-developing embryo inside, in which case it also contains body fossils. A wide variety of different animal groups laid eggs that are now preserved in the fossil record beginning in the Paleozoic era. Examples includeinvertebrates like ammonoids as well as vertebrates like fishes, possible amphibians, and reptiles. The latter group includes the many dinosaur eggs that have been recovered from Mesozoic strata. Since the organism responsible for laying any given egg fossil is frequently unknown, scientists classify eggs using a parallel system of taxonomy separate from but modeled after the Linnaean system. This “parataxonomy” is called veterovata. The fossil record of reptile eggs goes back at least as far as the Early Permian. However, since the earliest reptile eggs probably had soft shells with little preservation potential, reptilian eggs may go back significantly farther than their fossil record. Many ancient reptile groups are known from egg fossils including crocodilians, dinosaurs, and turtles.