A perfectly preserved dinosaur egg highlights link to modern birds

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one month ago  •  51 comments

By:   Tom Metcalfe

A perfectly preserved dinosaur egg highlights link to modern birds
A 66-million-year-old fossil of a complete baby dinosaur in its egg, apparently just a few days before it would hatch.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Dec. 21, 2021, 4:02 PM UTC By Tom Metcalfe

A 66-million-year-old fossil of a complete baby dinosaur in its egg, apparently just a few days before it would have hatched, shows the remarkable similarities between theropod dinosaurs and the birds they would evolve into, according to a study published Tuesday.

The fossilized bones of the embryo, named "Baby Yingliang" after the museum in southern China where it was discovered, can be seen curled up inside its 6-inch elongated eggshell and looking almost exactly like a modern bird at that stage, although it has tiny arms and claws rather than wings.

Fion Waisum Ma, a paleontologist at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, said the head is particularly striking in its similarity to the head of a newly hatched bird — a resemblance heightened by a beak that was a feature of the dinosaur species, called oviraptorosaur. Ma is one of the lead authors of the fossil study published in the journal iScience. Scientists from China, Canada and elsewhere in the U.K. were also involved.

Oviraptorosaurs, a type of theropod dinosaur with hollow bones and three-toed limbs, were very close to the dinosaur ancestry that evolved into modern birds. As well as beaks, they had feathers on their arms. They couldn't fly, but there is evidence that they spread the feathers out above their nests to keep the eggs beneath them warm, said John Nudds, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester in the U.K, who wasn't involved in the study.

Embryonic dinosaur fossils are extremely rare — paleontologists have found them at only about half a dozen sites. And this is the first time any have shown signs of a distinctive posture known as "tucking" — with the head under the right arm — although some other dinosaur embryos have shown distinct "egg teeth" that they may have used to break out of their shells, Nudds said.

A life reconstruction of a close-to-hatching oviraptorosaur dinosaur embryo based on the new specimen Baby Yingliang.Courtesy Lida Xing

Ma said that until now the tucking posture had been seen only in birds.

"Some embryos are quite well preserved, but they don't show this posture," she said. "And some are very fragmentary, so it is difficult to see their posture clearly."

Baby birds adopt the posture, with their heads "tucked" under their right wings, in the egg just a few days before they hatch; embryos that fail to get it right are seldom able to hatch properly.

Ma said tucking seems to help baby birds make their first cracks in the eggshells by restricting the movement of their heads.

"It's easier to stabilize the beak and to direct it to the same place when they try to break the eggshell," she said.

The researchers suggest that the tucking posture evolved because oviraptorosaurs had hard shells, like those of birds, instead of soft shells, like those of turtles — an early form of shell that was still common about 70 million years ago among dinosaurs like the sheep-size protoceratops.

Scientists think hard eggshells gave better protection from the environment than soft shells, so oviraptorosaurs and related dinosaur species may have evolved the tucking posture to break through their harder eggshells, Ma said.

Baby Yingliang was in a cache of fossils that were delivered in 2000 to the Yingliang Stone Nature History Museum in the Chinese city of Nan'an, possibly after they had been found at a construction site in the nearby city of Ganzhou.

It wasn't until 2015 that one of the museum staff examined the fossil egg and noticed that what appeared to be bones could be seen in a fracture.

The fossilized egg has now been scientifically analyzed and the fossil split so the complete skeleton of the embryo can be seen curled up in its shell.

The study suggests that the fossil is 66 million to 72 million years old. The baby dinosaur would have been about 10 inches from beak to tail when it was hatched, and it might have grown to more than 6 feet long as an adult.

An animated reconstruction of a close-to-hatching oviraptorosaur dinosaur embryo based on the new specimen Baby Yingliang.Lida Xing (please go to article to see this image)

Modern chicken eggs take about 21 days to hatch. They are much smaller than Baby Yingliang, and scientists don't know how long it had been developing in its egg before it was fossilized. It seemed to have been about to hatch within a few days, Ma said.

Many dinosaur experts have hailed the fossil as one of the best-preserved embryos they have ever seen. But some aren't certain that what the researchers have interpreted as a tucking posture in the embryo is actually that.

"This is an interesting discovery, but I am skeptical about the 'tucking' behavior as it is primarily based on a single specimen," said Shundong Bi of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. "I think more evidence is needed."

Bi, who wasn't involved in the latest research, studied the fossilized remains of a different oviraptorosaur crouching above a clutch of 24 eggs, some of which contained embryos.

The interpretation of the tucking posture depended on the dinosaur eggs' containing pockets of air, like the eggs of birds. But that couldn't be seen in this fossil, and it hadn't been seen in other dinosaur eggs, Bi said in an email.


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shona1
Sophomore Participates
1  shona1    one month ago

Evening....what an absolutely stunning find...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
2  Buzz of the Orient    one month ago

How would you like it, boiled, scrambled or sunny side up?

 
 
 
shona1
Sophomore Participates
2.1  shona1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    one month ago

Errr dont think there's a fry pan big enough...

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
2.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    one month ago

How about poached?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
2.2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @2.2    one month ago

Not so sure, don't poachers get shot?  But you've heard of eggs Benedict?  How about eggs Jurassic?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3  Kavika     one month ago

Amazing find. I would love to see one of the birds from that time period flying today.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
3.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Kavika @3    one month ago

M

If you did, it might have some frog DNA in it...

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @3    one month ago

Ever watch a blue heron flying above? I think they look like what a pterodactyl might have looked like

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @3.2    one month ago

I rarely look up when a bird is flying overhead for obvious reasons. jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
3.3  MrFrost  replied to  Kavika @3    one month ago

Amazing find. I would love to see one of the birds from that time period flying today.

Until it coiled off a rope that crashed through your windshield. 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
3.3.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  MrFrost @3.3    one month ago

Try explaining that one to a insurance adjuster.😁

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
3.4  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @3    one month ago
I would love to see one of the birds from that time period flying today.

Would be interesting

320

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
3.4.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @3.4    one month ago
 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
3.5  cjcold  replied to  Kavika @3    one month ago

A huge aggressive flying predator is not my idea of something I would love to see above me.

Those things are why god invented shotguns.

.

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
3.5.1  cjcold  replied to  cjcold @3.5    one month ago

The barn swallows around here try to intimidate me and keep me in my place.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4  Trout Giggles    one month ago

Amazing how much dinosaurs have "evolved" since I was a kid. When I was a kid they were giant lizards. Scientists didn't say anything about how they may have been the precursors to birds. Believe it or not the first reference I heard about dinosaurs and birds was in Jurassic Park.

And the last few years dinosaurs have developed feathers. Science is dynamic...ever changing based on new evidence

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
4.1  Krishna  replied to  Trout Giggles @4    one month ago

They may have been the precursors to birds.

Yep:

320

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
4.2  cjcold  replied to  Trout Giggles @4    one month ago

Actually, this is old evidence. Recall books I read as a child linking the evolution of dinos to birds.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
5  Greg Jones    one month ago

A lot of dinosaurs looked like chickens. Here is Jianianhualong tengi.

bvxpacmxu5aqsmpoi292.jpg

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Greg Jones @5    one month ago

Giant birds with really big claws, everywhere!

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Ender  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1    one month ago

I use to think birds were single minded until I had some crows.

Years ago I found two baby crows on the ground, not far from my house. I took them home and fed them and watched them. They would perch on my arm or hand. I had to leave town for a couple of days and they died.

They were outside and I had someone to look after them and feed them yet they said the birds would have nothing to do with them.

After that, for almost two years a flock of crows followed me around. They would land and almost talk. They never harmed me in any way or were in any way menacing. It is almost like they were observing.

They did dive bomb people that came near me several times.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5.1.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Ender @5.1.1    one month ago

Crows are uber smart. They can talk, like parrots, recognize people and make strong attachments to people. They even can make tools and figure out problems that have multi-steps to solve. 

If you are interested, there are a few documentaries I know on them and I can send you the links. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5.1.3  Ender  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1.2    one month ago

A murder I should have said...Haha

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5.1.4  Ender  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1.2    one month ago

You can send me the links though. I always thought they were beautiful.

I never got the bad reputation they seem to get.

Then again, I was never on their bad side.

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
5.1.5  cjcold  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1    one month ago

Thankfully Fred and Barney were able to tame and train them for household functions.

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
5.1.6  cjcold  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1.2    one month ago

I believe that I saw it on Nat. Geo.. 

Have had personal contact with several parrots who were semi friendly.

A cockatoo I used to know would run across the floor between dogs and cats (who wisely ignored him) whenever I came over. He would fly/jump into my lap and land upside down and spread his wings just to get a belly rub.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
6  evilgenius    one month ago

Fascinating news. Add this to the 8 foot millipede fossil in England and it's a good week for paleontology!

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilgenius @6    one month ago
8 foot millipede

the stuff of nightmares....

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.1.1  Split Personality  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1    one month ago
512 This millipede species, unfortunately, is still very much alive Photo:   Andrew Cowie/AFP   (Getty Images)

Scientists in England are gearing up to publicly display their “fluke of a discovery” next year—the fossilized carapace of a 22-inch-wide, 8-foot-long ancient millipede that was “as big as a car” and weighed approximately 110-pound,   as reported over at  CNN .

The giant ass bug was what’s known as an Arthropleura, which creepily scuttled around the planet around 326 million years ago, a full 100 million years before dinosaurs showed up.

“This is definitely the biggest bug that ever lived,” confirmed University of Cambridge lecturer, Neil Davies, to   CNN   via email yesterday—something they probably said proudly, and without a hint of abject disgust or terror.

The discovery of the third known Anthropleura remains came back in 2018, completely by accident, after a large piece of sandstone broke off a cliffside in Northumberland and broke open upon landing on a beach below it.

The fossil slab was so huge that it apparently took four people to haul it in for examination.

Given that Earth formerly featured a much higher level of oxygen in its air, pretty much everything was gigantic during that geologic time period (megaflora and megafauna are the technical terms for “big ass flowers and animals”). The existence of huge insects like Anthropleura have been known for some time, but the date of this particular fossil points to additional reasons for its size other than oxygen levels.

“While we can’t know for sure what they ate, there were plenty of nutritious nuts and seeds available in the leaf litter at the time, and they may even have been predators that fed off other invertebrates and even small vertebrates such as amphibians,”   Davies said in a press release , which…   ugh .

The 8-feet long millipede now takes the crown for “largest gross bug to have ever lived,” a dubious honor previously bestowed upon a particular species of… brace yourselves…   sea scorpions .
 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Split Personality @6.1.1    one month ago

That was a funny comment!

I hate scorpions, centipedes, and millipedes. I had a nightmare about centipedes because my 10th grade biology teacher had a jar of giant ones on the table in the front of the room...and I sat right in front of the creepy crawlies

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.1.3  Split Personality  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.2    one month ago

512

Supposedly caught off the beach in Miami Fl

date unknown, source undocumented

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1.4  devangelical  replied to  Split Personality @6.1.3    one month ago

yikes

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.5  Trout Giggles  replied to  Split Personality @6.1.3    one month ago

What the...What....WHAT THE FRACK IS THAT????????????

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.1.6  Split Personality  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.5    one month ago

Sea Scorpion, lol.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.7  Trout Giggles  replied to  Split Personality @6.1.6    one month ago

You know I'm having a nightmare tonite, right?

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
6.1.8  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.2    one month ago

I hate these things..

512

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.9  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @6.1.8    one month ago

So do I...so quit it!

ROFL!

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
6.1.10  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1    one month ago

We had 8 inch long ones in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when I was stationed there and they were bad enough! 

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
6.1.11  MrFrost  replied to  Split Personality @6.1.3    one month ago
Supposedly caught off the beach in Miami Fl

date unknown, source undocumented

Looks like it might be tasty with butter. 

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
6.1.12  cjcold  replied to  Split Personality @6.1.3    one month ago

Mmmmmm. My kingdom for a half gallon of garlic butter.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
6.2  MrFrost  replied to  evilgenius @6    one month ago
8 foot millipede

Looks like i'll need a bigger shoe, my size 12 is just going to piss it off. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
7  Trout Giggles    one month ago
Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 

I missed this in the seed! That's my alma mater

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.1  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @7    one month ago

When I first heard that I thought it was made up.

Indiana university of Pennsylvania?

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
7.1.1  Split Personality  replied to  Ender @7.1    one month ago

Like Miami University of Ohio?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
7.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @7.1    one month ago

LOL! A lot of people do. The name of the town is called Indiana. It was founded by George Clymer a signer of the DOI. He named it for the Indians living there.

When I went to tech school after basic we all had to introduce ourselves and say something about ourselves. I said I was a graduate of Indiana University of PA and everyone got a puzzled look on their face except for my fellow troops from PA. Somebody asked if Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) had a satellite school in PA.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
8  Ender    one month ago

Ok, I was looking at the egg as it is always on the front page and for some reason it made me think of Grump.

For someone's birthday he always sang...Hippo bird eggs to ewe...

 
 
 
squiggy
Sophomore Quiet
9  squiggy    one month ago

how-to-draw-foghorn-leghorn_5e4c89efef3624.86706911_29188_3_3.jpg

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10  TᵢG    one month ago

Funny timing.   We have been discussing the irrational 6,000 year old Earth belief in two articles.   This belief is irrational because of the multi-discipline, cross-validated, abundantly evidenced age of the Earth in modern knowledge.   The Earth being billions of years old is as well-founded as the Earth being an oblate spheroid (not flat).

And here we go with yet another amazing discovery and (possibly, it would seem) 100 million Americans (and at least one active NT member) will hold that this fossil can be no older than 6,000 years.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
11  Krishna    one month ago

I found this to be interesting:

Given that Earth formerly featured a much higher level of oxygen in its air, pretty much everything was gigantic during that geologic time period (megaflora and megafauna are the technical terms for “big ass flowers and animals”)

One of the things that I noticed about prehistoric plants and animals was that so many were so...YUGE. 

Now I know why!

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
12  Greg Jones    one month ago

My favorite prehistoric flyer. 

image_10346-Quetzalcoatlus-northropi.jpg

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
13  Split Personality    one month ago

An Ichthyosaur With a Grand Piano-Size Head and a Big Appetite - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

The original article I saw had a one of the women researchers lying next to the full skull of this gigantic fossil

that someone discovere by noticing the three feet of interlocking teeth...that they were standing on...

Huge reptile with 56ft body once roamed the seas of what is now Nevada (msn.com)

Great Basin Brewing :: Ichthyosaur "ICKY" IPA® (greatbasinbrewingco.com)

Enjoy

and a Mery Xmas to all

Remember X is Greek for CRI = Christ

interesting relationships in the Greek language of old

Christian Symbols: An Illustrated Glossary (learnreligions.com)

 
 

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