Science : FOSSIL shows dinosaurs had MORE in COMMON with birds than PREVIOUSLY…

FOSSIL shows dinosaurs had MORE in COMMON with birds than PREVIOUSLY…

thought!

A replica of a Citipati, a genus of oviraptorid dinosaur, is shown in Brugelette, Belgium.

(Alexandre Tziripouloff/Dreamstime.com).

A preserved dinosaur embryo found in a fossilized egg in southern China exhibits evidence that the extinct species had more in common with modern birds than previously thought, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The scientists who wrote a paper in iScience about the discovery said the egg was an oviraptorid, laid between 72 million to 66 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.

Oviraptorids belonged to a group of two-legged and three-toed dinosaurs called theropods. All modern birds can trace their origins to theropods, according to paleontologists.

Still, the connection with modern birds does not stop at just lineage with the new fossil. The embryo within the egg had a curled body position, resembling that of a bird embryo.

"his posture was previously not recognized in any dinosaur embryo,'' said Fion Waisum Ma, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Birmingham in England and contributor of the paper. She described the specimen as ''one of the best-preserved dinosaur embryos ever found."

Tucking is a strategy that bird species use to direct the hatchling's beak toward the eggshell to crack it and emerge when fully developed.

"Failure to attain this posture would increase the chance of death, as the bird is less likely to break out of the egg successfully," Ma added.

Paleontologists often use a computed tomography (CT) program to examine the interior of fossils, but Ma said that when the researchers scanned the fossilized embryo, "the results weren't that great."

Rather than using CT, the team used photorealistic reconstructions of the embryo inside the egg to map the specimen correctly.

The fossil was obtained roughly 20 years ago in the Chinese city of Ganzhou but was not recognized as a dinosaur egg until 2015, the Journal reported.


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