Scientists have discovered a perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo that was preparing to hatch from its egg.
The embryo was discovered in Ganzhou, southern China, and researchers have estimated it to be at least 66 million years old. It is also believed to be a toothless theropod dinosaur (also known as oviraptorosaur) and has been named ‘Baby Yingliang’.
Oviraptorosaurs, which means “egg thief lizards”, were feathered dinosaurs that lived in what is now Asia and North America during the Late Cretaceous period. That’s between 100 million to 66 million years ago.
Researcher Dr. Fion Waisum Ma described it as “the best dinosaur embryo ever found in history“. Through the discovery, researchers have gotten a greater understanding of the link between dinosaurs and modern birds as the fossil shows that the embryo was curled up in a “tucking” position.
“Tucking” position is a common behaviour seen in birds shortly before that hatch.”
Baby Yingliang measures 10.6in (27cm) long from head to tail and rests inside a 6.7 inch-long egg at the Yingliang Stone Nature History Museum in China. The egg was first uncovered in 2000, but was put into storage for 10 years.
When the museum had construction works done, old fossils were being sorted through. That is when researchers discovered the egg and suspected there was an embryo inside.