Did you know the first dinosaur fossil was discovered before the word dinosaur even existed? Way long ago in 1677, a man named Robert Plot discovered the first dino bone. But, because it was something entirely new, he thought it was just a giant human bone. Later, William Buckland, the first geology professor at Oxford University in England, officially identified a dino fossil for what it was! However, it wasn't until 1842, nearly 200 years later, that Sir Richard Owen named the collection of fossils "Dinosauria" which translates to "terrible lizard." And there you have it: the origination of the word Dinosaur!
Now that we know some dino history, let's get to the new stuff! BREAKING NEWS: The first fossil of a dinosaur sitting on a nest of eggs with fossilized babies has been unearthed! Why is this important? It is the world's first discovery that shows us how these amazing creatures hatched their newborn!
Fun Facts about the Unearthing
- The fossil remains were of an Oviraptorosaur, a birdlike therapod (a meat-eating dino with 2 feet) that roamed during the Cretaceous Period more than 66 million years ago!
- The rocks dug up in Ganzhou, China were more than 70-million years old.
- The partially preserved dino had 24 eggs incubated, and 7 contained the remains of skeletons of developing dinosaur babies.
- GROUNDBREAKING! This fossil is evidence that the Oviraptorosaurs sat on nests like its modern-day bird cousins!
- The eggs were incubated at high temps, just like today's baby birds when they are yet-to-hatch.
- Some of the embryos in the eggs appeared to be more mature than others, meaning the eggs could have hatched at different times, known as asynchronous hatching.
This fossil find is an extremely rare discovery and one that helps us better understand how dinosaurs lived and hatched babies millions of years ago! Fellow paleontologists and dino-lovers, what did you think was most interesting about this fossil find?