When Jurassic Park came out – the book or the movie, take your pick – the conceit that scientists could use dinosaur DNA that had been extracted from a mosquito that had been frozen in amber seemed plausible enough to most of us. We aren’t scientists, what do we know?
I still couldn’t tell you if it’s accurate, but I can tell you that we may be about the find out. Sort of.
It wasn’t found in amber, but a perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo was discovered inside a fossilized egg. Thankfully, it wasn’t the embryo of a T-Rex or a velociraptor. Also, it’s just a fossil, and can’t be used to reintroduce living dinosaurs into an ecosystem that can’t handle them, with or without Chris Pratt.
According to the Daily Mail, scientists have dubbed the dino embryo “Baby Yingliang.” The baby is 72 million years old, and belongs to a species of dinosaur known as oviraptorosaurs. Despite the word “raptor” being in there, Baby Yingliang’s brethren were toothless theropod dinosaurs. Oviraptorosaurs were beaked and feathered, and the embryo us strikingly similar to that of a bird.
The fossil was found in the rocks of the ‘Hekou Formation’ at the Shahe Industrial Park in Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province by scientists from the University of Birmingham. It’s one of the most complete dinosaur embryos ever found and is about 10.6 inches long.
“Dinosaur embryos are some of the rarest fossils and most of them are incomplete with the bones dislocated,” lead paleontologist Fion Waisum Ma said. “We are very excited about the discovery of ‘Baby Yingliang’ — it is preserved in a great condition and helps us answer a lot of questions about dinosaur growth and reproduction with it. It is interesting to see this dinosaur embryo and a chicken embryo pose in a similar way inside the egg, which possibly indicates similar prehatching behaviours.”
Makes me wonder what scrambled dino eggs would taste like…