66-million-year-old embryo – level 3

03-01-2022 07:00

Scientists discovered a perfectly preserved embryo in a 66-million-year-old dinosaur egg. Named ´Baby Yingliang´, people discovered the spectacular fossil in Ganzhou City, China. The fossil measured 27 centimeters long from head to tail, and it rested inside a 17-centimeter-long egg. It was put in a museum into storage after people uncovered it in 2000.

When construction work began on the museum, people sorted through old fossils, and researchers turned their attention to the egg, as they suspected it held an embryo inside. The discovery has given researchers a greater understanding of the link between dinosaurs and modern birds.

Since the fossil was well-preserved, scientists could see its posture clearly. Its head lay on the belly with feet on either side, forming a special curling posture, similar to that of modern bird embryos shortly before they hatch. Therefore, scientists believe that the tucking postures that modern birds developed for successful hatching could have came from dinosaurs tens or hundreds of millions of years ago.

Experts said that the dinosaur belonged to a toothless feathered theropod dinosaur, or oviraptorosaur. It lived in what is now Asia and North America between 100 million to 66 million years ago.

Difficult words: posture (the position of the body when standing or sitting), hatch (when a young animal emerges from its egg), tuck (to draw a part of the body together into a small space).

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