It's said to be the "best dinosaur embryo ever found in history."
Scientists recently announced that a perfectly preserved, fossilized dinosaur egg has been found with an embryo inside, and it looks like it was about to hatch a prehistoric chicken.
Although researchers have uncovered many dinosaur eggs and nests, none have been this perfectly preserved, according to the study published in iScience.
Researchers first discovered the fossil in the southern Chinese city of Ganzhou, and it's estimated to be around 66 million years old, according to reports by the BBC.
They've named it Baby Yingliang.
Welcome 'Baby Yingliang'! An oviraptorosaur embryo lying inside an egg. This little dinosaur has a bird-like prehatching posture! In the team with \n@LidaXing1982, @SteveBrusatte and colleagues. Open access in @iScience_CP, https://www.cell.com/iscience/fulltext/S2589-0042(21)01487-5\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/GbS9UiO1iN— Fion Ma (@Fion Ma) 1640102349
Although the egg fossil was first discovered in 2000, it sat in storage for 10 years and only resurfaced for study when the museum started a new construction project.
A study on the preserved fossil suggests that the egg was of a late Cretaceous oviraptorid theropod dinosaur.
That's a mouthful.
The study shows that the embryo's posture is very similar to that of a modern-day bird.
"The head lies ventral to the body, with the feet on either side, and the back curled along the blunt pole of the egg, in a posture previously unrecognized in a non-avian dinosaur, but reminiscent of a late-stage modern bird embryo," scientists wrote in their study.
Researchers say it's an enormous discovery because it suggests that birds aren't the only creatures to ever prepare for hatching in this way. There's now evidence that some dinosaurs did it too.
Study researcher Fion Waisum Ma told the BBC that this is "the best dinosaur embryo ever found in history."
Paleontologist and professor Steve Brusatte praised Ma on Twitter for her research work, since she's still a Ph.D. student and this study isn't even part of her thesis.
"It's one of the most stunning dinosaur fossils I've ever seen," said Brusatte, who was also part of the study.