80 Million Years of Fossil Embryos Small Giant Packets Surprises About Large Dinosaurs


Well-preserved embryonic skull fossil is 3 centimeters long

The skull of a dinosaur embryo from Argentina provides surprising detail of baby facial features found in a species of a large group of dinosaurs called titanosaurs that included the largest land animals that ever lived on Earth.

Scientists said on Thursday the fragile fossil was among the best-preserved embryonic dinosaur remains ever found – a nearly intact skull about 3cm long that remained three-dimensional rather than flattened during the fossilization process .

“We used to be excited about giant dinosaur skeletons, but it always makes a difference when we look inside the eggs of these giants,” said paleobiologist Martin Kundrat of the Center for Interdisciplinary Biosciences of Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Slovakia, lead author of the research published in the journal Current Biology.

“It does not happen that often and it is quite exceptional to find more or less complete fossilized embryonic remains,” Kundrat added, calling this dinosaur “the little giant”.

The fossil from the Cretaceous Period of Patagonia is believed to be around 80 million years old. The dinosaur appears to have had specialized facial features as a newborn that changed with age. Powerful imaging technology revealed unexpected features, including a small horn protruding from the muzzle as well as eyes facing forward, indicating binocular vision.

The facial horn may have helped the dinosaur hatch from its egg like the “egg tooth” found in some newborn birds and reptiles, but may also have served other functions such as defense or collecting. food, Kundrat said.

The titanosaurs were part of a very successful group of herbivorous dinosaurs called sauropods known for their long necks, long tails, and pillar-shaped legs. The larger ones, such as the Argentinosaurus and the Patagotitan, were around 35 meters long. The precise species to which this embryo belonged is not clear. Its skull bears similarities to a medium-sized titanosaur called Tapuiasaurus which was around 13 meters long.

The embryo differed in facial anatomy and size from similar embryos of Patagonian titanosaurs.

“It is a bit unusual for a fossil to be represented only by a skull,” Kundrat added. “The specimen perished before it completed its development. It had only undergone four-fifths of its incubation period.”

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)


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