Unknown Dinosaur Species Discovered with Dozens of Unhatched Dinosaur Eggs in China

Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth and dominated life before their non-avian members went extinct 66 million years ago when a killer space rock, known as the Chicxulub impactor or the Chicxulub asteroid. struck our planet. Since then, these ancient archosaurs became known in the modern world through the discovery of their fossils in different parts of the world. For more than 100 years, the taxonomic database for these extinct reptiles has gradually increased due to the identification of different dinosaur species.

Now, an unknown dinosaur species was discovered with dozens of unhatched dinosaur eggs in China, according to a new study led by scientists in China. The discovery shows that the eggs belonged to dinosaurs that lived 190 million years ago or during the Early Jurassic period. The study says that the eggs shed light on dinosaur reproductive biology, where pre-Cretaceous dinosaur reproduction is a part of paleontology marked by a scarcity of fossil evidence.

Unknown Dinosaur Species

Unknown Dinosaur Species

(Photo : Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash)

In the study published in the journal National Science Review on October 9, a research team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences excavated fossils of adult dinosaurs belonging to previously unknown dinosaur species in China’s southwestern Guizhou Province. The new dinosaur species has been named Qianlong shouhu which belongs to a known dinosaur group called sauropodomorphs, which contains sauropods and their ancestors.

The team reported the discovery of three adult skeletons of Q. shouhu and five clutches of embryos that contain the unhatched dinosaur eggs. The scientists described them as “leathery eggs” which displayed several significant features of dinosaur reproductive biology that are either unknown or different from other sauropodomorphs. One of these unique characteristics is having relatively large eggs with thick shells.

The discovery of the unknown dinosaur species and its unhatched dinosaur eggs provides strong evidence of the existence of the earliest known leathery eggs. According to the study’s authors, quantitative analyses suggest that the first dinosaur eggs were possibly not only leathery but also elliptical and relatively small.

Also Read: Ancient Rats May Have Eaten Dinosaurs, Scientists Say

Dinosaur Eggs

Dinosaur eggs once captured the imaginations of many people, especially in their portrayal in the “Jurassic Park” franchise and other non-scientific literature and media. Yet, the documented sightings of these ancient reptilian eggs improved our understanding of the dinosaur leathery eggs. Previous research shows that the eggs of the earliest dinosaurs were softer and more fragile.

Prior to the National Science Review study, paleontological discoveries of fossilized dinosaur eggs and young dinosaur bones were extremely rare until the 1980s. However, the findings of dinosaur eggs now in different continents have become more common, according to the American Museum of Natural History.

In modern times, scientists believe that dinosaur eggs developed to become harder or tougher due to evolution, including adding the feature of being water-proof. Like eggs from birds and reptiles that we know today, our understanding of dinosaur eggs has come a long way, since they were first described scientifically during the 1800s.

Related Article: New Evidence Shows an Apparent Key to Dinosaurs’ Later Dominance on the Ancient Mass Extinction

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