Dr. Matt Lamanna: 'This dinosaur was a caring parent that ultimately gave its life while nurturing its young.'

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Researchers from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History say they have helped uncover the world’s first fossilized remains of a dinosaur sitting on a nest of eggs, some of which have preserved embryos.

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The specimen was found in southern China and is about 70 million years old.

(Source: Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

The research team on the discovery includes Dr. Matt Lamanna, who is the co-interim director at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and Dr. Shundong Bi, who is a research associate at the museum and a professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

According to the researchers, the Oviraptorosaur fossil consists of an incomplete skeleton of what is likely the adult dinosaur sitting on its eggs. They say the clutch of at least 24 eggs has about seven that preserve, at least partially, the embryos inside.

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The Oviraptorosaur, is a group of bird-like theropod dinosaurs, according to the Carnegie Museum. Other oviraptorid remains have been found on nests, but there were no fossilized babies.

In a press release from the museum, Dr. Lamanna says, “This kind of discovery — in essence, fossilized behavior — is the rarest of the rare in dinosaurs. Though a few adult oviraptorids have been found on nests of their eggs before, no embryos have ever been found inside those eggs. In the new specimen, the babies were almost ready to hatch, which tells us beyond a doubt that this oviraptorid had tended its nest for quite a long time. This dinosaur was a caring parent that ultimately gave its life while nurturing its young.”

According to the museum, the Oviraptorosaur “thrived during the Cretaceous Period, the third and final time period of the Mesozoic Era (commonly known as the ‘Age of Dinosaurs’) that extended from 145 to 66 million years ago.”

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Click here to read more about the discovery.