WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- After examining fossilized dinosaur eggs, researchers found a well-preserved dinosaur embryo inside one.
- The embryo was named “Baby Yingliang” after the group that acquired the eggs.
- The embryo of the bird-like oviraptorosaurs was found in a tucked position reminiscent of a chick’s posture before hatching.
When the Yingliang Group, a company that mines stones, came upon a rock they believed to contain egg fossils, they decided to put it in storage for a decade. Researchers have just recently discovered a well-preserved dinosaur embryo inside one of the fossilized eggs.
The researchers discovered the fossils in 2000 in the Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province in southern China. They then sorted through them when construction began on Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum.
Lida Xing of China University of Geosciences, Beijing, said, “Museum staff identified them as dinosaur eggs and saw some bones on the broken cross-section of one of the eggs.”
The embryo found within has since been named “Baby Yingliang.”
It’s the embryo of the bird-like oviraptorosaurs, which is part of the theropod group. Although theropod means “beast foot,” theropod feet usually resemble bird feet. Birds also descended from one lineage of small theropods.
The embryo was found in a tucking position similar to the unique posture of birds before hatching. Researchers noted that “it’s reminiscent of a late-stage modern bird embryo.”
Waisum Ma of the University of Birmingham, U.K., said that they were surprised to see a “beautifully preserved” embryo “lying in a bird-like posture.”
Several fossilized dinosaur eggs have been unearthed over the past century, but discovering a well-preserved dinosaur embryo is rare.
Ma explained, “Most known non-avian dinosaur embryos are incomplete with skeletons disarticulated.”
The researchers said that they will conduct further studies and testing to attempt to visualize its internal anatomy. They hope that their findings can be helpful in other studies of fossil embryos.
The study was published on Dec. 21 in iScience.
Source: CBS News