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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Well-preserved dinosaur embryo found in China

By Nana Horii | Staff Writer

   A dinosaur embryo inside a fossilized egg was re-discovered at the end of 2021 by staff members of the Yiangling Stone Natural History Museum, located in Xiamen, China.

   The embryo was unearthed by the Yiangling Group, a company that mines stones, in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province.

   Though it was discovered in 2000, the egg was placed in a storage room and was not rediscovered until December, when construction for the Yiangling Stone Natural History Museum had begun and the staff was sorting old fossils.  

   “Museum staff identified them as dinosaur eggs and saw some bones on the broken cross section of one of the eggs,” Lida Xing said in a news release. 

  Paleontologists think the embryo is an Oviraptorosaur, a dinosaur with bird-like features that is part of the theropod group. This embryo, although being a non-avian dinosaur, is curled up inside the egg like a bird.

   Prior to the discovery of this embryo, this posture was thought to be unique to birds, however, researchers theorize that this particular behavior of the Oviraptorosaur may come from non-avian theropods. 

   A nest of 24 Oviraptorosaur eggs, was found earlier that year, and similar bird-like behaviors were seen there as well.

   According to researchers in a news release, fossils of embryos that are this well-preserved are rare, and this embryo will contribute to the study of fossil embryos. 

   “Up until now, little has been known of what was going on inside a dinosaur’s egg prior to hatching, as there are so few embryonic skeletons, particularly those that are complete and preserved in a life pose,” Darla Zelenitsk, an associate professor at the University of Calgary in Canada, said in an email to Katie Hunt, a CNN journalist. 

   Liu Liang, curator of the museum, states that a different embryo was found several years earlier but was not as intact as the one discovered in December. 

   Though well-preserved, some parts of the egg are covered in rock and researchers plan on scanning the egg to piece together what the skeleton looks like. 

   The embryo was nicknamed “Baby Yiangling” after the company that first discovered it, and is currently being stored at the Yiangling Stone Natural History Museum. The museum was subsidized by the Yiangling group. 

   The embryo is 10.6 inches long, and the egg it is in is 6.7 inches long.

   The Oviraptorosaur,  from the Cretaceous Period, lived in Asia 65.5 million to 100 million years ago. This embryo is thought to be around 66.6 million years old. 

   Oviraptosoaur is also under the theropod group, which all carnivorous dinosaurs are part of. They are characterized by bird-like feet.

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Well-preserved dinosaur embryo found in China