An unprecedented image of a baby dinosaur neatly wrapped inside an egg helps to better understand the relationship between dinosaurs and birds.
The fossil is 70 million years old and preserves the embryonic skeleton of the Orovaptorite dinosaur. Baby Yingliang Because of the name of the Chinese museum that holds the fossil.
Baby dinosaur bones are small and fragile, and are rarely preserved as fossils, making it a very fortunate discovery, said Darla Zhelenitsky, an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Calgary in Canada.
“It simply came to our notice then. […] I have been working with dinosaur eggs for 25 years and I have never seen anything like it, ”said Zelenitsky, co-editor of research published in iScience magazine this Tuesday (21).
“Until now, little is known about what happened before a dinosaur hatched into an egg because there are some embryonic skeletons that are particularly intact and preserved in a living pose,” the researcher added.
The egg is estimated to be about 17 centimeters long and 27 centimeters from the dinosaur head to tail. Researchers believe that if it had lived to adulthood, it would have grown to two to three meters in length.
Researchers from China, the United Kingdom and Canada studied the conditions Baby Yingliang And from other previously discovered oviproptoroid nuclei. They concluded that the dinosaurs were moving and changing positions before hatching, much like chicks.
In modern birds, these movements are associated with behaviors controlled by the central nervous system and are the basis for successful hatching of eggs.
“Most known non-avian dinosaur nuclei are incomplete, with dissected skeletons (bones separated in the joints),” said Weiss Ma, lead author of the study and researcher at the University of Birmingham, UK.
“We were amazed to see that this embryo was beautifully preserved inside a dinosaur egg, lying like a bird. This pose has never been identified before in non-bird dinosaurs, ”concluded Ma.
All birds evolved directly from a group of two-legged dinosaurs called theropods, including the stuffing of its members. Dinosaur Rex And small velociraptors.
Contemporary birds are not the only ones pre-hatching behavior that they inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. The same type of dinosaur sits on top of its eggs to hatch like birds, Zelentisky said.
The fossil was discovered in the Chinese province of Jiangxi in 2000 by Liang Liu, director of the Yingliang Group, a Chinese stone company. About 10 years after this discovery, when the Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum was being built, the museum team went through the boxes and stored and forgotten until the fossil was discovered.
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