In Ganzhou City, China’s Jiangxi Province, the remains of an adult dinosaur were found sitting on its nest of eggs with at least three embryos, now fossilized. This is the first time that such a discovery has been made and the remains are believed to date from around 70 million years ago. The specimen in question is an oviraptorosaur, a dinosaur that belongs to a group of bird-like theropods that flourished during the Cretaceous Period, the third and final period of the Mesozoic Era, also known as the “Age of Dinosaurs”.
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Several eggs are clearly visible, and three of them appear to contain embryos and body parts of the animal. Dr Shundong Bi, of the Center for Vertebrate Evolutionary Biology and author of the study, said it was very rare to find dinosaurs kept in their nests with fossilized embryos. This is the first time that a non-avian dinosaur has been found sitting on a nest of eggs: it is a unique and spectacular specimen that has fascinated researchers. Thanks to this discovery, we can indeed find a lot of information that will be useful to us in the years to come. One of this information concerns the diet of oviraptorosaurs in the abdominal region. In fact, the dinosaurs would have swallowed the stones to better digest the food.
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The dinosaur was found installed above a nest of about twenty-four fossilized eggs , in a brooding or protective position. Through analysis, the researchers found that the eggs had been incubated at high temperatures , and this information led specialists to believe that the dinosaur specimen died while the nest was incubating . At least seven of the fossilized eggs still contain the remains of unhatched embryos. By analyzing the stage of their development, it is assumed that the eggs were about to hatch, and therefore the dinosaur had been caring for its nest for a very long time. A discovery which also confirmed the benevolent and protective nature of dinosaurs towards their young.
source used: cnn.com