Amazingly preserved dinosaur embryo found inside a fossilized egg

This life-reconstruction shows what a ‘Baby Yingliang’ dinosaur embryo looked like inside its egg.

Lida Shing

An illustration shows a small animal in a tight fold, legs pulled up, back bent and head beaked toward its tail. This is Baby Yingliang, a nickname given to a wonderful fossilized dinosaur embryo that was found inside an ancient egg and placed in a position much like that of a modern bird before it hatched.

Baby Yingliang’s fossil dates back to the late Cretaceous period, putting it between 72 million and 66 million years old. Found in southern China are the remains of a theropod dinosaur called Oviraptorosaurus. The state of preservation of the embryo and its location within the egg make the fossil a fascinating find.

«This position was not previously recognized in dinosaurs Similar to embryos of modern birds,” said a statement Tuesday from the University of Birmingham. Researchers from that institution and from the Chinese Peking University of Geosciences led Fossil study, which was published in iScience this week.

Fossilized theropod embryo shows a dinosaur in a crooked posture before hatching.

Xing et al. / iScience

Scientists estimate that the dinosaur would be about 10.6 inches (27 centimeters) long. The egg is 17cms long, which gives you an idea of ​​how much the critter has flexed.

«It is exciting to see this dinosaur embryo and chicken embryo forming in a similar way inside the egg, which may indicate similar behaviors before hatching,» said co-first author Fion Weissum Ma, a paleontologist at the University of Birmingham. Researchers want to study more well-preserved dinosaur embryos to test the idea that flexing posture is something that first evolved in theropods. The situation helps ensure that modern birds hatch successfully.

Study co-author Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh called the discovery «one of the most beautiful fossils I’ve ever seen,» saying it represents «more evidence that many of the distinguishing features of today’s birds first evolved in their dinosaur ancestors.»

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Olga Dmitrieva

Любитель алкоголя. Возмутитель спокойствия. Интроверт. Студент. Любитель социальных сетей. Веб-ниндзя. Поклонник Бэкона. Читатель

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