Fossilized embryos shed light on dinosaur development


This image released by the University of Toronto shows a preserved femora, thigh bone, in cross section in middle of the shaft. The purple color is caused by the lamba filter used for effective visualization. The honeycomb like external area is embryonic bone tissue with large primary spaces for blood vessels, bone making cells called osteoblasts, and other soft tissues needed for growth. The central portion is the medullary cavity, but in this case filled with crystals that formed during fossilization. An international team of scientists discovered a cache of dinosaur embryos near the city of Lufeng, in Yunnan, China . Estimated to be 190 million years old, the fossilized bones are among the oldest dinosaur embryos in the world. AP/University of Toronto, A. LeBlanc

PARIS—Scientists on Wednesday said they had unearthed a treasure trove of fossilized dinosaur embryos dating back some 190 million years, a find that sheds light on how these enigmatic reptiles developed in the egg.

Palaeontologists excavated more than 200 bones from 20 embryonic dinosaurs in Lufeng in China’s Yunnan province, they wrote in the journal Nature.

The remains were from a long-necked herbivore called Lufengosaurus, a common dinosaur in the Early Jurassic period that measured about eight meters (26 feet) when fully grown.

Analysis of the femur, the longest bone in the dinosaur’s body, showed the reptiles grew very quickly inside the egg, which in turn suggests the Lufengosaurus had a short incubation period.

The team also found evidence that muscles played an active part in the developing femur by contracting and pulling on the hard bone.

“This suggest that dinosaurs, like modern birds, moved around inside their eggs,” said Robert Reisz of the University of Toronto Mississauga in Canada’s Ontario province.

“It presents the first evidence of such movement in a dinosaur.”

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • marionics

    pati ba naman ang mga dinosaur embryo fossils e made in china pa din????

    he he

  • carlcid

    I’m just wondering why this article was classified under Business. Is the Inquirer hinting that a lot of the Philippines’ business leaders are simply old dinosaurs?

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos