72 Million Year Old Dinosaur Embryo Found in Fossilized Egg | UK News
An “exquisitely preserved” embryo was found inside a fossilized dinosaur egg.
The discovery, nicknamed “Baby Yingliang”, is believed to be between 66 and 72 million years old and was found in the Upper Cretaceous rocks of Ganzhou in southern China.
Research team member Professor Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh said: “This dinosaur embryo inside its egg is one of the most beautiful fossils I have ever seen.
“This tiny, prenatal dinosaur looks like a baby bird coiled in its egg, further evidence that many characteristics of today’s birds first evolved from their dinosaur ancestors.”
The way Baby Yingliang was found is unique among dinosaur embryos and is similar to modern birds – the head sits below the body with the feet on either side and the back rolled up along the blunt end of the l ‘egg.
In modern birds, such postures are reminiscent of “folding,” a behavior controlled by the central nervous system and essential for successful hatching.
The finding suggests that dinosaurs developed bird-like postures before they hatched.
The embryo is believed to be that of a toothless theropod dinosaur, or oviraptorosaurus – a group of feathered theropod dinosaurs, closely related to modern birds.
Fion Waisum Ma, co-first author and doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham, said: “Dinosaur embryos are among the rarest fossils and most of them are incomplete with dislocated bones.
“We are very excited about the discovery of ‘Baby Yingliang’ – it is kept in a very good condition and helps us answer many questions about the growth and reproduction of dinosaurs.
“It’s interesting to see this dinosaur embryo and a chicken embryo pose the same way inside the egg, possibly indicating similar behaviors before hatching.”