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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

The Beibeilong sinensis -- "baby dragon from China" -- lived about 90 million years ago and is only the second known species of the giant oviraptorosaur in the world. Researchers have discovered a new species of giant, bird-like dinosaur that made nests larger than monster truck tires in what is now central China, a study said. Measuring about eight metres (26 feet) long and weighing up to 3,000 kilograms (6,600 pounds), the Beibeilong sinensis -- "baby dragon from China" -- lived about 90 million years ago and is only the second known species of the giant oviraptorosaur in the world. Darla Zelenitsky, a Canadian paleontologist who co-authored the study, told AFP that the Beibeilong would have looked like an "overgrown cassowary," a flightless bird resembling an emu. Likely covered in feathers, oviraptorosaurs had robust, toothless beaks and often sported a crest on the top of their heads. "It has been a big mystery for many years as to which species laid the largest-known dinosaur eggs," Zelenitsky said. "The identification of the baby skeleton in this study revealed that these eggs were laid by giant oviraptorosaurs, a group of dinosaurs that are very poorly known from fossil bones." The discovery, detailed in Nature Communications journal Tuesday, was made using a dinosaur skeleton and egg fossil known as "Baby Louie." Baby Louie was among the thousands of dinosaur eggs excavated and collected from Cretaceous rocks by local farmers in central Henan province in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The specimen was then illegally sold and smuggled into the United States, where it was featured in National Geographic magazine and publicly exhibited at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. Though the museum always intended to repatriate the Chinese fossil, the study noted, an agreement for its return was not reached until 2013, when Baby Louie found its final resting place at the Henan Geological Museum. Because of legal concerns, only after Baby Louie had returned home was a team of Chinese and Canadian scientists able to start researching the specimen, which consisted of the bones of an embryo that died while hatching and 45 centimetre- (17.7 inch-)long eggs found in a ring-shaped clutch.


A dinosaur fossil, called “Baby Louie” as he was found in China some 20 years ago, has had a rather sketchy past. It’s the fossilized remains of a Late Cretaceous dino embryo, gracing the cover of National Geographic in the 1990s while classification is still eluding it. Now, Baby Louie had been identified as a new species of giant oviraptorosaur. The newly described species, called Beibeilong sinensis (or “baby dragon from China”), was a giant bird-like dinosaur laying eggs up to 2 feet long in nests bigger than monster truck tires. A team of Chinese, Canadian, and Slovakian researchers classified the new species based on the large eggs and an associated embryo collected in the Henan province of central China in the early 1990s but were then exported to other countries. “This particular fossil was outside the country for over 20 years,” said paleontologist Lü Junchang in a statement. “Its return to China finally allowed us to properly study the specimen and name a new dinosaur species.” The eggs measure around 5 kilograms (11 pounds) in weight and up to 45 centimeters (18 inches) in length, emerging as some of the largest dino eggs ever found. They were discovered in a nest with a ring-shaped clutch and likely containing two dozen or more eggs. “I imagine them as very birdlike,” described study University of Calgary paleontologist and coauthor Darla Zelenitsky, making the Beibeilong much like an oversized ostrich kin. This new species, however, would have towered over ostriches, with adults probably measuring over 25- feet long and weighing more than 3 tons. The dinosaur family it belongs to, the birdlike oviraptors, was generally quite small, though. These dinosaurs were feathered, bore wings, and had beaks closely resembling birds, and while their adult bones are unknown yet, they were estimated to have 3 tons in body mass as compared to close relatives. Baby Louie is one of only three skeletons of giant oviraptors that have been discovered so far, although Zelenitsky said their eggs remain highly common and have been seen in China, Mongolia, Korea, and even the United States. For a number of years, it remained a mystery as to what dinosaur specifically laid the humungous eggs and nests. Since fossilized remains of tyrannosaurs and other large theropods were also detected in Henan province rocks, there were experts who initially thought the eggs were of tyrannosaurs, Zelenitsky explained. The fossils of the new species had a colorful journey being originally obtained from Henan by farmers in 1993 and exported to the United States afterward. The 1996 National Geographic cover made the eggs and embryo world-famous, but scientific journals had difficulty describing and naming the species until the fossils were returned to their home country. The fossils are now permanently kept at the Henan Geological Museum. Now that they have been properly identified, scientists can better learn how the ancient animals reproduced as well as reared the young, observed Montana State University paleontologist David Varricchio, who wasn’t part of the study. The findings were detailed in the journal Nature Communications. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

A 90 million-year-old embryo of Beibelong - "baby dragon from China" - on top of eggshells (dark grey in colour) (AFP Photo/) Researchers have discovered a new species of giant, bird-like dinosaur that made nests larger than monster truck tires in what is now central China, a study said. Measuring about eight metres (26 feet) long and weighing up to 3,000 kilograms (6,600 pounds), the Beibeilong sinensis -- "baby dragon from China" -- lived about 90 million years ago and is only the second known species of the giant oviraptorosaur in the world. Darla Zelenitsky, a Canadian paleontologist who co-authored the study, told AFP that the Beibeilong would have looked like an "overgrown cassowary," a flightless bird resembling an emu. Likely covered in feathers, oviraptorosaurs had robust, toothless beaks and often sported a crest on the top of their heads. "It has been a big mystery for many years as to which species laid the largest-known dinosaur eggs," Zelenitsky said. "The identification of the baby skeleton in this study revealed that these eggs were laid by giant oviraptorosaurs, a group of dinosaurs that are very poorly known from fossil bones." The discovery, detailed in Nature Communications journal Tuesday, was made using a dinosaur skeleton and egg fossil known as "Baby Louie." Baby Louie was among the thousands of dinosaur eggs excavated and collected from Cretaceous rocks by local farmers in central Henan province in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The specimen was then illegally sold and smuggled into the United States, where it was featured in National Geographic magazine and publicly exhibited at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. Though the museum always intended to repatriate the Chinese fossil, the study noted, an agreement for its return was not reached until 2013, when Baby Louie found its final resting place at the Henan Geological Museum. Because of legal concerns, only after Baby Louie had returned home was a team of Chinese and Canadian scientists able to start researching the specimen, which consisted of the bones of an embryo that died while hatching and 45 centimetre- (17.7 inch-)long eggs found in a ring-shaped clutch.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

The Dinosaur Renaissance was one of the greatest moments in vertebrate paleontology. Dinosaurs went from being sluggish peabrains who deserved extinction to vibrant, complex animals that could teach us new lessons about evolution and extinction. The wave of scientific and public interest crested in a way not seen in decades. But all the Mesozoic attention had a dark side. During the 80s and 90s, dinosaur fossils became must-have collector’s items for the rich, and that’s what led to the black market sale of a clutch of massive eggs found in China’s Henan Province. Dinosaur eggs are relatively rare fossils to start with, but the clutch from Henan was extra special. Nestled among the eggs were the bones of a baby dinosaur skeleton, all curled up snug. This represented an unprecedented opportunity to match eggs with the dinosaur species that laid them, but first the fossil needed to go home. From the black market, the block wound up in a private collection and was later purchased by the Indianapolis Children’s Museum in 2001. That’s where “Baby Louie” and his unhatched nestmates stayed until 2013, when they were finally sent home to the Henan Geological Museum in China. And now, after all that moving and shaking, paleontologist Hanyong Pu and colleagues have finally determined the identity of the dinosaur who laid those eggs 90 million years ago. Previous analyses named the eggs Macroelongatoolithus. (Dinosaur eggs, much like the animals themselves and the tracks they make, get their own names.) And even then, the sheer size of the embryonic skeleton suggested that Baby Louie was some kind of giant oviraptorosaur. The announcement of Gigantoraptor in 2007 was enough to confirm that these beaky dinosaurs could indeed grow to immense size. But the embryonic dinosaur itself represents something new. Pu and coauthors have named it Beibeilong sinensis, China’s baby dragon. Giving Baby Louie a new species name is a bit of an unusual move. Paleontologists usually try to avoid establishing new names on the basis of immature individuals. That’s because non-avian dinosaurs changed dramatically as they grew up, and sometimes “new” species turn out to be the babies or juveniles of animals already known from adults. Still, Pu and colleagues propose, the details of Baby Louie’s little bones show enough differences from other oviraptorosaurs to establish it as something new. Baby Louie, as well as the other Beibeilong infants, would have had a lot of growing up to do. Although large by dinosaurian standards, the eggs were only about 15 inches long. The body size of the adult, meanwhile, is estimated by Pu and colleagues to have been comparable to Gigantoraptor – weighing in at over a ton and a half. But there’s more to the find than exceptional size. All in one place, paleontologists have fossil eggs, remnants of a fossil nest, and the skeleton of the species responsible all in one place. This allowed the experts to sift through behavior and biology as well as systematics. The adult Beibeilong made a ring shaped nest that likely had many more eggs than the 6-8 preserved in the fossil. These were deposited in two layers, like some other oviraptorosaurs. In fact, Pu and coauthors write, this large species nested in much the same way of its smaller counterparts, raising the possibility that grown up Beibeilong brooded over their nests with spread arms just like their comparative diminutive relatives. What tragedy befell the nest and ended the life of the young inside those shells, we may never know. But that unfortunate turn of events preserved something of the life of animals we’ll never see in the flesh, a frozen moment of Cretaceous time. Reference: Pu, H., Zelenitsky, D., Lü, J., Currie, P., Carpenter, K., Xu, L., Koppelhus, E., Jia, S., Xiao, L., Chuang, H., Li, T., Kundrát, M., Shen, C. 2017. Perinate and eggs of a giant caenagnathid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of central China. Nature Communications. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14952


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.sciencenews.org

A fossil dinosaur embryo known as “Baby Louie” has a new name. It belongs to a newly identified species of dinosaur called Beibeilong sinensis, researchers report May 9 in Nature Communications. In the 1980s and 1990s, farmers found thousands of fossilized dinosaur eggs in the rocks of Henan Province in China and sold them overseas. It turned out that one chunk of rock, purchased by a company that sells museum-quality fossils and rock specimens, held not only eggs but also an embryonic dinosaur skeleton. It was dubbed “Baby Louie,” after a National Geographic photographer whose images of it appeared in a cover story for the magazine. Paleontologists knew Baby Louie was some kind of oviraptorosaur, a two-legged, birdlike dinosaur. But its species was a mystery. So in 2015, Junchang Lü of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing and colleagues returned to the site in China where the eggs were excavated. They analyzed fossils there and examined Baby Louie’s remains, now housed in the Henan Geological Museum. The embryo measures 38 centimeters from its snout to the start of its tail and dates to about 90 million years ago. Based on the structure of Baby Louie’s facial bones and other anatomical features, the team declared the dinosaur a new species. In Chinese, Beibei means “baby” and long means “dragon.” Baby Louie’s skeleton was found with six to eight similar-looking dinosaur eggs. This type of dino egg is the largest identified to date and appears to have been abundant, leading paleontologists to think that birdlike dinosaurs like Baby Louie were common in the Late Cretaceous. Editor's Note: This story was updated on May 12, 2017, to reflect that it is “paleontologists” who typically study dinosaur bones.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

About 90 million years ago, a gigantic bird-like dinosaur with a toothless beak and a crest atop its head laid a clutch of enormous eggs. At least one of these eggs never hatched, but rather became the first and only one of its species on record to fossilize, according to a new study. The discovery of the 15-inch-long (38 centimeters) embryo is remarkable, said study co-researcher Darla Zelenitsky, an assistant professor of paleontology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. "This is the first embryo known for a giant oviraptorosaur, dinosaurs that are exceedingly rare," Zelenitsky told Live Science in an email. [See Images of the Newly Named Giant Oviraptorosaur Embryo] Moreover, it's only the second species of giant oviraptorosaur on record, Zelenitsky said. The other known giant oviraptorosaur is dubbed Gigantoraptor, a beast that stood as tall as 16 feet (5 meters). After the fossilized embryo's discovery, it took 25 years for the previously unidentified Cretaceous-age specimen to receive an official scientific name. A Chinese farmer in Henan Province found the oviraptorosaur embryo in 1992, and a year later it was exported to the United States by The Stone Co., a Colorado firm that sells fossils and rocks. Word spread when the company uncovered the eggs and embryo, and National Geographic featured it on a magazine cover in 1996. The National Geographic photographer, Louis Psihoyos, captured so much detail in his shots that people began calling the dinosaur "Baby Louie," even after it went on display at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. However, because of Baby Louie's significance (an embryo representing a new species of rare dinosaur), researchers decided to wait until it was repatriated to China in 2013 to study it, Zelenitsky said. After the examination at the Henan Geological Museum, a group of researchers from China, Canada and Slovakia gave Baby Louie the formal scientific name of Beibeilong sinensis, which means "baby dragon from China," in a combination of Mandarin and Latin. [Image Gallery: Dinosaur Day Care] Giant oviraptorosaurs are two-legged dinosaurs that looked like modern-day cassowaries — large, flightless birds that live in Australia. But an adult B. sinensis would have towered over the 6.5-foot-tall (2 m) cassowary, and even a typical oviraptorosaur, such as Oviraptor, Zelenitsky said. B. sinensis measured up to 26 feet long from its snout to the end of its tail, and it weighed up to 6,600 lbs. (3,000 kilograms) when fully grown at age 11. That means B. sinensis underwent a substantial growth spurt, as it likely weighed just under 9 lbs. (4 kg) after it hatched, Zelenitsky said. While the incredibly well-preserved specimen and eggs — huge, elongated fossils that measured up to 17 inches (45 centimeters) long and weighed about 11 lbs. (5 kg) — have helped the researchers learn about B. sinensis, they don't contain many clues about the dinosaur's parenting style. It's unclear whether the parents protected the nest and cared for the young because no adult material was found with the nest, Zelenitsky said. Still, the finding reveals that these enormous eggs — the largest known dinosaur eggs on record, which even have a formal name: Macroelongatoolithus, meaning "large elongate stone egg," — came from giant oviraptorosaurs, she said. "Because Macroelongatoolithus eggs are common in the fossil record, the established link between Macroelongatoolithus and giant oviraptorosaurs enabled us to infer that these animals were much more abundant, common [and] widespread than indicated by the scarcity of their bones," Zelenitsky said. The study was published online today (May 9) in the journal Nature Communications.


Junchang L.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Liz X.,Henan Geological Museum | Huali C.,Henan Geological Museum | Xingliao Z.,Henan Geological Museum
Acta Geologica Sinica | Year: 2011

A new species of Darwinopterus, D. robastodens sp. nov. is described and named. Based on the new specimen, the diagnostic characters of Dorwinopterns are amended and include: rostra! dentition composed of well-spaced, spike-like teeth; the longest teeth are confined to the anterior half of the tooth row; tooth alveoli have raised margins; nasoantorbital fenestra continent; inclined quadrate; elongate cervical vertebrae with low neural spine and reduced or absent ribs; long tail of more than 20 caudals partially enclosed by filiform extensions of the pre- and postzygapophyses; short metacarpus less than 60 per cent length of humerus, fifth toe with two elongate phalanges and curved second pedal phalanx of the fifth toe with the angle between the proximal and distal segments about 130 degrees. The complete specimen of the new pterosaur D. robustodens sp. nov. provides much more osteological information. The differences in tooth morphologies between Dorwinopterus inoduloris and D. robustodens sp. nov. suggest that they filled different ecological niches. The hard integument- bearing Coleoptera may have been the main food source of Darwinopterus robustodens. Copyright © 1999-2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Pu H.,Henan Geological Museum | Kobayashi Y.,Hokkaido University | Lu J.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Xu L.,Henan Geological Museum | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Therizinosauria are an unusual group of theropod dinosaurs, found mostly in the Cretaceous deposits in Mongolia, China and western USA. The basal forms of this group are represented by incomplete or disarticulated material. Here, we report a nearly complete, articulated skeleton of a new basal therizinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Jianchang County, western part of Liaoning Province, which sheds light on our understanding of anatomy of basal therizinosaurs. This new dinosaur shows some typical therizinosaur features, such as neural spines of the anterior caudal vertebrae that possess anterior and posterior alae, a rectangular buttress on the ventrolateral side of the proximal end of metacarpal I, and appressed metatarsal shafts. Our phylogenetic analysis suggests that it is a basal therizinosaur (sister taxon to Therizinosauroidea) because it bears many basal therizinosaur characters in the dentition, pelvis and hind limbs. The new therizinosaur described here has unique tooth and jaw characters such as the offsetting of the tooth row by a shelf and dentary teeth with labially concave and lingually convex dentary teeth, similar to ornithopods and ceratopsians. © 2013 Pu et al.


Wei X.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Pu H.,Henan Geological Museum | Xu L.,Henan Geological Museum | Liu D.,Henan Geological Museum | Lu J.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Acta Geologica Sinica | Year: 2013

A new oviraptorid dinosaur Jiangxisaurus ganzhouensis gen. et sp. nov., is erected based on a partial skeleton from the Upper Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province. The new taxon differs from other oviraptorids in the weakly downturned rostrum of the lower jaw, much-elongated mandible with a height-to-length ratio being about 20% and the length ratio of radius to humerus of about 0.70. This species not only adds a new member to oviraptorid dinosaurs, but also provides more information about oviraptorid paleogeographical distribution in southern China.


Lu J.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Pu H.,Henan Geological Museum | Xu L.,Henan Geological Museum | Wu Y.,Henan Geological Museum | Wei X.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Acta Geologica Sinica | Year: 2012

A new pterosaur Moganopterus zhuiana gen. et sp. nov. is erected based on a complete skull with lower jaws and anterior cervical vertebrae. It is characterized by much elongated upper and lower jaws with at least 62 total, long, curved teeth with sharp tips, a well developed parietal crest extending posterodorsally, forming an angle of 15 degrees with the ventral margin of the skull, the ratio of length to width of cervical vertebrae greater than 5:1. The skull length is 750 mm, and it is the largest toothed pterosaur found so far in the world. Based on this new pterosaur, the Boreopteridae can be divided into two subgroups: Boreopterinae sub-fam. nov. and Moganopterinae sub-fam. nov., which is also confirmed by the phylogenetic analysis.

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