Scientists in Ganzhou, China, have discovered a 66-million-year-old dinosaur embryo that was preparing to hatch from its egg. It belonged to a toothless theropod dinosaur known as the oviraptorosaur, and researchers have named it “Baby Yingliang.”
According to PHYS, Baby Yingliang’s head was found laying below its body, with its feet on both sides and back curled. This posture wasn’t commonly seen in dinosaurs, but it is in modern birds, which led researchers to trace a link between birds and their dinosaur ancestors.
Oviraptorosaurs, known as the “egg thief lizards,” were feathered dinosaurs that lived in Asia and North America in the Late Cretaceous period. Their size ranged from modern turkey to massive gigantoraptors, measuring eight meters (26 feet) long.
The embryo that was found, “Baby Yingliang,” measures 27 centimeters (10.6 inches) long, and it lies inside a 77 centimeter-long egg. Researchers believe it was preserved all these years by a mudslide that buried the egg. It would have likely grown to be two to three meters long as an adult and would have been a herbivore.
A researcher from the University of Edinburgh, Professor Steve Brusatte, stated the following:
“This dinosaur embryo inside its egg is one of the most beautiful fossils I have ever seen.”
“This little prenatal dinosaur looks just like a baby bird curled in its egg, which is yet more evidence that many features characteristic of today’s birds first evolved in their dinosaur ancestors.”
The fossil egg is currently at the Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum in Xiamen, China.
Until Next Time…
Ahmed, I. (2021, December 26). Perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo was preparing to hatch like a bird. PHYS. Retrieved December 26, 2021, from https://phys.org/news/2021-12-perfectly-dinosaur-embryo-hatch-bird.html