Scientists have announced the discovery of a perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo that was preparing to hatch from its egg, just like a chicken.
The embryo was found in Ganzhou in southern China and researchers guess it is at least 66 million years old.
It is guessed to be a toothless theropod dinosaur or oviraptorosaur and has been named Baby Yingling.
Researcher Dr. Fion Waisum Ma told it is "the best dinosaur embryo ever discovered in history.
“It is one of the best dinosaur embryos ever found in history,” University of Birmingham researcher Fion Waisum Ma, who co-authored a paper in the journal iScience, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.
Ma and colleagues found Baby Yingliang’s head lay below its body, with the feet on either side and back curled – a posture that was before unseen in dinosaurs, but similar to modern birds.
"This suggests that such behavior in modern birds first evolved and originated among their dinosaur forefather," Dr. Ma told the AFP news agency.
Oviraptorosaurs, which means "egg thief lizards," were feathered dinosaurs that lived in what is now Asia and North America during the Late Cretaceous period - between 100 million to 66 million years ago.
This dinosaur embryo inside its egg is one of the most stunning fossils I have ever seen,” said Paleontologist Professor Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh, who was also part of the research team, in a tweet.
Baby Yingliang measures 10.6in (27cm) long from head to tail and rests inside a 6.7 inch-long egg at the Yingliang Stone Nature History Museum in China.
The egg was first to uncover uncovered in 2000 but put into storage for 10 years.
It was only when construction work began on the museum and old fossils were being sorted through that researchers turned their attention to the egg, which they suspected was holding an embryo inside.
Part of the dinosaur's body is still covered by rock and researchers will use advanced scanning techniques to create an image of its full skeleton.
The team aims to study Baby Yingliang in detail using the latest scanning methods to see a full image of the skeleton, containing its skull bones.
Al Jazeera ,BBC