December 7, 2022

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A perfectly preserved little dinosaur was discovered wrapped inside an egg

One fossil Never seen of dinosaur Carefully curling a baby inside an egg helps them better understand the connections between dinosaurs and birds.

The fossil is 70 million years old and preserves the embryonic skeleton of an oviraptoride dinosaur, which was given the name yingliang baby Because of the name of the Chinese Museum that houses the fossil.

Small dinosaur bones are small and brittle, and are rarely preserved as fossils, making this a very lucky find, said Darla Zelenitsky, associate professor in the University of Calgary’s Department of Earth Sciences. Canada.

“It’s a great sample. […] I’ve been working with dinosaur eggs for 25 years and haven’t seen anything like this until now, said Zelenitsky, co-author of the research published in iScience on Tuesday (21).

The researcher added, “Until now, not much is known about what happened inside a dinosaur egg before hatching, due to the presence of a few embryonic skeletons, especially those that are complete and have been preserved in life mode.”

The egg is about 17 cm long and the dinosaur is estimated to be about 27 cm long from head to tail. Researchers believe that if he lived to adulthood, he would have been about two to three meters tall.

Researchers at ChinaAnd United kingdom Canada studied positions yingliang baby It is another Oviraptorid embryo that has been found earlier. They concluded that dinosaurs moved and changed positions before they hatched in a similar way to small birds.

In modern birds, these movements are associated with central nervous system-controlled behavior and are fundamental to successful egg hatching.

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“Most known non-avian dinosaur embryos are incomplete, with loose skeletons (bones separated at joints),” Wisom Ma, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Birmingham, UK, said in a statement.

Dinosaur Specimen Is Over 70 Million Years Old / Courtesy of Darla Zelenitsky

“We were surprised to see this embryo beautifully preserved inside a dinosaur egg, lying in a bird-like position. This position had not been recognized in non-avian dinosaurs before,”

All birds evolved directly from a group of two-legged dinosaurs known as theropods, whose presumptive members include Tyrannosaurus Rex and the smallest velociraptor.

Pre-hatching behavior is not the only behavior that modern birds have inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. It’s also known that the same type of dinosaur would sit on top of its eggs until they hatch, Zelentsky said, similar to birds.

The fossil was found in Jiangxi Province of China and was acquired by Liang Liu, director of a Chinese stone company called Yingliang Group in 2000. It ended up being stored and forgotten until about 10 years later, when the museum team searched the chests and discovered the fossil during the construction of the Yingliang Stone Museum of Natural History, which The company supports it.