Sunday, 14 April 2013

Baby Dinos Wriggled in Eggs, Fossil Embryos Show

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 10 April 2013 Time: 01:00 PM ET

Embryonic dinosaurs kicked and wiggled in the egg, a new discovery of a baby-dino-bone bed suggests.

The bones, all from not-yet-hatched embryonic dinosaurs, are among the oldest dinosaur-embryo fossils ever found. What's more, the embryo fossils came from separate nests and the dino embryos were at different stages of development when they died — two discoveries that will enable researchers to study how dinosaurs developed before hatching.
An artist's impression of an embryonic Lufengosaurus, 
showing the dinosaur's growing skeleton.
CREDIT: D. Mazierski 

"It tells us quite a bit about early embryonic stages and changes that occur in the embryonic life of these animals — something we haven't really seen before," said study researcher Robert Reisz, a paleontologist at the University of Toronto.

In addition to discovering evidence of in-egg kicking, the researchers found that the embryos, which probably belonged to the long-necked Lufengosaurus, grew faster than the embryos of any birds or mammals alive today.

Tiny-bone find
Timothy Huang, a chemist at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan and an amateur archaeologist, discovered the embryonic bones about three years ago in Yunnan Province, China. The bone bed has an area of about 3 square feet (1 square meter) and a thickness of about 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters). In this small patch, the researchers eventually uncovered more than 200 itsy-bitsy bones.

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