An international team of paleontologists has unearthed the latest fossil in what could be described as a 4-decade-long conveyor belt of rarest-of-the-rare finds from China.
The discovery was one of an oviraptor almost certainly brooding upon, or incubating a clutch of two dozen of its eggs, all of which contained embryos, and 7 of which that may have been hours away from hatching.
All fossilized together — a still life from the Cretaceous period, one paleontologist described it as “fossilized behavior… 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,” says paleontologist Matt Lamanna from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Oviraptor was an ostrich-like theropod dinosaur that really looked more like a cassowary or an emu than a dinosaur. It was found in Ganzhou, South China, thousands of miles from Inner Mongolia, or Liaoning provinces, where many of China’s most famous paleontological discoveries have been made.