Earlier this month, paleontologists announced the discovery of the largest soft-shelled egg ever found. The researchers think the football-sized specimen, which was discovered in Antarctica, came from a giant, swimming reptile. But other scientists think the giant egg could have been laid by an early dinosaur.
After a mysterious, 66-million-year-old fossil was found in Antarctica, it sat unstudied for nearly a decade.
Researchers weren’t sure what the object was or where it came from, so they referred to it as “The Thing.”
A study published this month, however, solved part of the mystery: A group of paleontologists announced that “The Thing” is a giant, soft-shelled egg the largest such egg ever discovered.
“This is the biggest one by a long shot,” Lucas Legendre, lead author of the study, told Business Insider , adding, “it’s massive about the size of an American football and looks exactly like a lizard or snake egg.”
The fossil’s size and geographic origin raised an obvious question, though: “We were curious what animal could’ve laid that egg,” Legendre said.
His group thinks it came from to a massive marine reptile such as a mosasaur or plesiosaur that preyed on fish, sharks, and other underwater creatures. But that’s a controversial conclusion.