Saturday 19 August 2017

Enormous fossil eggs belonged to 'baby dragon'

An artist’s impression of a nesting Beibeilong sinensis
An artist’s impression of a nesting Beibeilong sinensis

John von Radowitz

A clutch of enormous fossil eggs from China has led to the discovery of a new species of giant bird-like dinosaur.

Flightless Beibeilong sinensis, which lived around 90 million years ago, had feathers, primitive wings and a beak, but dwarfed any of its modern bird relatives.

Based on their analysis of a hatchling that died while emerging from one of the eggs, experts believe the adult creature was around eight metres long and weighed three tons. Other dinosaurs of the same type, known as oviraptorosaurs, have seldom measured more than about two metres.

Several Beibeilong eggs were found in Henan Province, central China, in a ring-shaped clutch which was part of a nest two to three metres in diameter.

Professor Darla Zelenitsky, from the University of Calgary, Canada, whose team described the fossils in the journal 'Nature Communications', said: "For many years, it was a mystery as to what kind of dinosaur laid these enormous eggs. Thanks to this fossil, we now know that these eggs were laid by a gigantic oviraptorosaur, a dinosaur that would have looked a lot like an overgrown cassowary."

Beibeilong sinensis translates as "baby dragon from China".

Irish Independent

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