Have you heard about Baby Yingliang? Baby Yingliang is the name of one of the most exquisitely preserved dinosaur embryos that have ever been found. For a paleontologist to find a dinosaur egg or nest is rare, and those that have been found are usually incomplete, or the bones are dislocated. This is part of the reason we don’t actually know what baby dinosaurs look like before they hatch. With this discovery, researchers can hopefully get a better picture of that!
And guess what? For the “Are dinosaurs birds or reptiles?” question, BabyYingliang is an oviraptorosaur. Oviraptorosaurs are part of a group of Theropods. Researchers believe that Theropods are closely related to birds, and with the discovery of Baby Yingliang, their theory is even more substantial! Baby Yingliang is shown to be in a “tucking” position, a position that is unique to modern baby birds before hatching. This doesn’t mean all dinosaurs are birds (check out this blog for more on that topic!), but it definitely gives us evidence that some dinosaurs were!
Life reconstruction of a close-to-hatching oviraptorosaur dinosaur embryo, based on the new specimen, Baby Yingliang. Image Credit: Lida Xing
Baby Yingliang was found in the Ganzhou region of Southern China and ended up in storage in a museum for almost 15 years before the museum staff of the Yingliang Stone Nature History noticed the exquisitely preserved bones through some cracks in the egg. They were sorting through some boxes that were in storage and discovered the fossils. What a beautiful thing to find in storage! I certainly don’t have anything like that in my attic!
It’s amazing discoveries like Baby Yingliang that help us understand more about what dinosaurs actually looked like. Researchers now have an even stronger theory that today’s modern birds evolved over millions of years from Theropod dinosaurs. Hopefully, we can look forward to more discoveries like this one for more evidence of that hypothesis!
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