Researchers Find Fossilized Dinosaur Embryo in Egg

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by Wolfgang Weihs/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Researchers finding a fossil is always worth celebrating, but they recently hit the jackpot. Not only did they discover a fossilized egg, but inside it was a well-preserved dinosaur embryo.

CBS News reports the embryo came from Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province in southern China. Yingliang Group researchers acquired it and suspected it contained egg fossils, so they put it in storage for a decade. When construction started on Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum, scientists revisited many unearthed fossils and discovered a dinosaur embryo hidden within one.

Lida Xing of China University of Geosciences, Beijing released a news release about the find. “Museum staff identified them as dinosaur eggs and saw some bones on the broken cross-section of one of the eggs.” The find promoted them to name it “Baby Yingliang.” The embryo belongs to the oviraptorosaurs, a bird-like member of the theropod group. Though the name technically means “beast foot,” it looked more like a bird.

Studying the embryo revealed the dinosaur would do a tucking posture before hatching. This is significant because that posture is unique to birds, iScience journal states.

“Most known non-avian dinosaur embryos are incomplete with skeletons disarticulated,” said Waisum Maof the University of Birmingham, U.K. Maof then expressed the team’s surprise discovering the bird-like posture. Before discovering this embryo, non-avian dinosaurs never had a posture like that.

Finding the fossilized dinosaur egg was one thing, but researchers state a well-preserved embryo is rare. They also state they will continue studying it, claiming some of its body parts still remain in rocks.

Scientists Found Dozens of Fossilized Dinosaur Eggs

As previously said, finding one fossil is cause enough to be happy. Imagine how a team of scientists felt upon discovering dozens of fossilized dinosaur eggs.

Newsweek talked about the find, where archeologists found a total of 30 titanosaur dinosaur eggs. The team found them in a two-ton rock in northern Spain. As if that wasn’t enough, based on the find, they believe there may be 70 more inside. For reference, the titanosaur was a quadruped herbivore with a long tail and neck that could be up to 66 feet long.

Moreno-Azanza, a researcher there with Nova University Lisbon, said they discovered the nests housing the eggs in 2020. “The main objective of the 2021 campaign was the extraction of a large nest that contains at least 12 eggs that were integrated into a block of rock weighing over two tons,” he said. “In total, five people dedicated eight hours a day for 50 days to excavate the nest, which was finally removed with the help of a bulldozer.”

The expedition went so well Moreno-Azanza stated the egg project received enough funding for at least three more years.