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Scientists reveal perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo found inside fossilized egg (Photo)

What does a dinosaur embryo look like? (Photo: Lida Xing)

What does a dinosaur embryo look like? (Photo: Lida Xing)© RBC-Ukraine (UK)

Scientists have revealed an incredibly rare find - a dinosaur embryo preserved inside a fossilized egg, which lay untouched for over a decade in a museum vault in China. The age of the unborn prehistoric creature ranges between 66 to 72 million years. Researchers speculate that this dinosaur is likely a relative of modern-day birds, according to Ifl Science.

What is known about the unique embryo

This discovery was made back in 2021. The embryo belonged to a group of toothless feathered theropods known as oviraptorosaurs. The embryo measures about 27 cm in length. This is the first discovery of a dinosaur embryo showing a posture typical of modern bird embryos.

Just before hatching, modern birds perform a series of maneuvers known as tucking, which involves the bending of the body and tucking the head under the wing. However, the evolutionary origin of such behavior remained unknown.

It is believed that tucking plays a vital role in the hatching process of birds, and those who do not assume this position have much less chance of survival after hatching.

"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," said Professor Steve Brusatte, the study's author.

Scientists reveal perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo found inside fossilized egg (Photo)© RBC-Ukraine (UK)

Perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo (photo: Lida Xing)

This embryo is stored at the Yingliang Stone Nature History Museum. It is one of the most complete dinosaur embryos ever found, allowing researchers to see a rare baby theropod.

However, as this is the only specimen of its kind, the study's authors acknowledge that based on their observations, full conclusions about the nature of dinosaur embryos cannot be made, and more such fossils need to be studied before any hypothesis can be confirmed.

Nevertheless, they concluded that "this new exceptional fossil embryo hints that some early developmental behaviors (tucking) often considered as uniquely avian may be rooted more deeply in the theropod lineage."

Scientists reveal perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo found inside fossilized egg (Photo)© RBC-Ukraine (UK)

Comparison of the development of dinosaur embryos and embryos of modern birds (photo:

Read also about the strange anomaly scientists discovered on the far side of the Moon.

Earlier, we wrote about scientists predicting the demise of our planet - here's what its last days will be like.



Story by Daria Shekina: RBC Ukraine

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