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Fosil zarodka dinozavra v jajcu. Vir: Wikipedia
Fosil zarodka dinozavra v jajcu. Vir: Wikipedia

An egg explains the development of birds from dinosaurs

Dinosaurs always stir the imagination of children and scientists. In the UK, for example, they are currently working on the discovery of a giant ichthyosaur fossil.

In China, however, scientists have recently discovered an amazingly preserved dinosaur embryo egg that is 66 million years old!

It was excavated as early as 2000, but was first stored in a museum. They started working on it only when they began to sort the stored fossils.

The dinosaur was named Baby Yingliang, after the museum where it was kept.

Scientists conclude that it remained unharmed due to a landslide that protected it from external influences.

Dinozavri so se izlegali iz jajc. Vir: Flickr
Dinosaurs hatched from eggs. Source: Flickr

The landslide covered it the moment it began to prepare to hatch. It placed its head under its body, spread his legs and bent it back, reminiscent of hatching in chickens as we know it today.

The unhatched dinosaur resembles a bird embryo in an egg. This is another proof that a large part of the characteristics of birds evolved from their dinosaur ancestors.

Steve Brusatte, co-author of the study

This discovery will help researchers investigate the kinship between birds and dinosaurs in more detail.

The dinosaur was classified as an oviraptor. This is a group of feathered dinosaurs that was widespread in the Late Cretaceous in Asia and North America.

Okostje odraslega oviraptozavra v muzeju. Vir: Flickr
The skeleton of an adult oviraptosaurus in a museum. Source: Flickr

The embryo measured only 27 centimetres from head to tail. If it reached adulthood, it would most likely reach a length of two or three meters, and would feed on plants.

Part of its body is still covered with stone. Researchers will use advanced scanning techniques to be able to create a complete picture of its skeleton.

Glossary

The Cretaceous is the youngest period of the Mesozoic and began 145 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago.

Points To Consider

  1. What are fossils?
  2. Do you know any kind of dinosaurs?
  3. What is Mesozoic?

***

The original version of this article was published on January 18th.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.

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