Baby Yingliang - A 70 Million Years Old Baby Dinosaur

Updated: Jan 25



Nestled inside its egg, the baby dinosaur was getting ready to hatch when a sudden unknown event buried the egg under mud or sand . Over million of years, the egg became a fossil, and when it was discovered in 2000, no one knew what a big surprise was waiting inside.

The egg was discovered in Ganzhou, Southern China, and scientists estimate it is about 70 million years old. The fossilized egg sat quietly in a museum storage in Yingliang until construction work began and old fossils had to be sorted. Bones were noticed through a crack in the egg and the researchers discovered they were holding a treasure - there is a fossilized embryo inside. It was named Baby Yingliang (after the museum where the egg was stored).




Above - The Oviraptorosaur embryo known as Baby Yingliang, one of the best-preserved dinosaur embryos ever reported! Xing et al., 2021







Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs were animals that lived on Earth for more than 150 million years and disappeared about 65 million years ago. They were lizard-like reptiles; like other reptiles, they laid eggs. Some of them were the largest and scariest creatures that ever lived on Earth.


Reptiles begin its life in an EGG. When the reptile is ready to hatch, it uses an egg tooth to break the shell of the egg. Once opened, the baby (or the HATCHLING) will stay in the egg for 12 to 48 hours. The JUVENILE reptile looks exactly like the ADULT but smaller. It will grow slowly until it reaches adult size.




Above - Reptiles life Cycle

Just like turtles and crocodiles, baby dinosaurs are called hatchlings. Young dinosaurs - beyond the hatchling stage - are referred to as juveniles.


From left to right - eggs, Hatchling, Juvenile turtle.




Baby Yingliang


  • Its one of the most well-preserved dinosaur embryos ever found.

  • It is estimated to be about 70 million years old.

  • It is a type of Oviraptorosaur, a group of beaked therapod dinosaurs closely related to modern birds that lived about 130 million to 66 million years ago, according to National Geographic


Oviraptorosaus which means egg thief lizards were feathered dinosaurs group closely related to modern-day birds, that used to live in Asia and North America between 100 million to 66 million years ago.


The fossil below shows the embryo in a curled position like we see in birds shortly before they hatch:

https://www.cell.com/iscience/fulltext/S2589-0042(21)01487-5






Dinosaurs quiz

  1. When did the dinosaurs live?

  2. What does the word dinosaur mean?

  3. What did the dinosaurs eat?

  4. Were all dinosaurs big?

  5. Can you have a pet dinosaurs?

  6. Which dinosaur had a giraffe-like neck?


Answers

  1. 245 and 66 million years ago

  2. From Greek “deinos”, means terrible, and “sauros”, means lizard = Terrible Lizard

  3. Some were carnivores - meaning they ate meat (like T Rex) and others were herbivores - plant eaters (like Stegosaurus)

  4. No. Dinosaurs varied in size. While some were huge, others were small, like Compsognathus, which was the size of a chicken

  5. No. They are extinct

  6. Brachiosaurus



Vocabulary

  • Dinosaur - - from Greek “deinos”, means terrible, and “sauros”, which means lizard - The word was coined by English paleontologist Richard Owen in 1842 and was meant to refer to Dinosaurs impressive size rather than their scary appearance.

  • Paleontologist - a scientist who studies the history of life on Earth through the fossil record.

  • Fossils - the evidence of past life on the planet and can include those formed from animal bodies or their imprints (body fossils).

  • Extinct - no longer existing - the dying out or disappearance of a species from Earth.


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