Perfectly preserved 72 million-year-old dinosaur embryo discovered

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Perfectly preserved 72 million-year-old dinosaur embryo discovered in a fossilised egg.

The stunningly preserved fossilised dinosaur embryo has been called “Baby Yingliang.” It has given scientists new insights into how birds and dinosaurs are linked by evolution.

The embryo was discovered inside an egg which was bought about 20 years ago by a Chinese company. The egg had been discovered in China’s Jiangxi Province. The oviraptorosaur embryo has been dated between 72 to 66-million-years-old and the fossil is exceptionally well preserved and is said to be “remarkably rare.”

Scientists have been analysing the fossil which led to the discovery of how the embryo was lying inside the egg. Scientists previously thought that this behaviour was unique to birds. The dinosaur embryo looks “like a baby bird curled in its egg.”

The scientists have published their findings in iScience. The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Birmingham and the China University of Geosciences along with experts from Canada, the UK and China.

The University of Birmingham’s Fion Waisum Ma commented: “Dinosaur embryos are some of the rarest fossils and most of them are incomplete with the bones dislocated.

“We are very excited about the discovery of Baby Yingliang – it is preserved in great condition and helps us answer a lot of questions about dinosaur growth and reproduction.

“It is interesting to see this dinosaur embryo and a chicken embryo pose in a similar way inside the egg, which possibly indicates similar prehatching behaviours.”

The University of Edinburgh’s Professor Steve Brusatte commented that the embryo is “one of the most beautiful” that he has seen.

He went on to add: “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.”

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Alex Glenn

Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]