Frozen in time: fossil indicates dinosaurs were caring parents

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Frozen in time: fossil indicates dinosaurs were caring parents

Fossil found of 70 million-year-old female dinosaur incubating her eggs, with embryos intact

Senior science reporter

It’s a world first: a fossilised specimen of a non-avian dinosaur crouching over her nest of eggs with the embryos still encased inside the shells.

The fossil – found in Ganzhou City in southern China’s Jiangxi Province – consists of an incomplete skeleton of a large adult oviraptorid “crouched in a bird-like brooding posture over a clutch of at least 24 eggs”, say the researchers from Yunnan University, and at least seven of the eggs preserve “bones or partial skeletons of unhatched embryos inside”.

The evidence suggests she was a “caring parent”, having nurtured the brood to a late stage of development before disaster struck...

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