Philip J. Currie (left), author of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’s May 1996 article on dinosaur eggs, is an experienced egg hunter. Curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, he has collected many eggs and nests, some of which were found only 200 miles from the museum. At a rich nest site in southern Alberta, Currie’s hunt for eggs and nests was rewarded with a bonus: eggs containing the tiny bones of hadrosaur embryos.

In the summer of 1995, Currie and fossil collectors Florence and Charlie Magovern traveled to Hubei Province in China to examine an exciting new egg site that the government guards to prevent looting. Egg-like shapes were everywhere, Currie remembers. “My first reaction was that they must be rocks, not eggs, because there were just too many of them.” Children led the team from nest to nest and even through dusty village streets, where Currie noticed an egg used as a building stone. Villagers crowded around the excited egg hunters as they carefully investigated and measured eggs at the nest site. Currie and Charlie Magovern (right) found several eggs eroding right out of the soft rock of a cliff face.

The hunters brought home no prize samples from this prime site; the Chinese government has tightened its excavation regulations and export laws for such natural treasures. But the Green Dragon Mountain site in Hubei and other nearby egg and nest sites will continue to lure egg hunters in search of scientific insight into dinosaur behavior, a prize in its own right.

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© 1996 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.