From USA Today.
Infant ‘Baby Louie’ dinosaur identified as new species ‘baby dragon’
Scientists finally know what species a famous fossilized baby dinosaur, still partly encased in its egg, belongs to — and it’s a new one.
Nicknamed Baby Louie, the dinosaur made headlines in 1996 when an artist’s conception of its embryo landed on the cover of National Geographic. But scientists were not certain of its species.
Now, the specimen has been properly studied, allowing scientists to determine it belongs to a new species called Beibeilong sinensis or baby dragon from China, according to a study.
The fossilized egg may have been smuggled from China more than 20 years ago, delaying the discovery. It was finally returned in 2013, according to a National Geographic, and handed over to the Henan Geological Museum.
After the egg’s reappearance, scientists were able to determine the creature inside lived during the Cretaceous Period some 90 million years ago, said study co-author Lü Junchang, a paleontologist at the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences.
Each egg is about 18 inches long and weighs about 11 pounds, making them some of the largest dinosaur eggs ever discovered. They were found in an enormous nest — likely bigger than a monster truck tire — about 2-3 yards in diameter that probably contained two dozen or more eggs.
“For many years it was a mystery as to what kind of dinosaur laid these enormous eggs,” said Darla Zelenitsky, a professor at the University of Calgary who was part of the research team that described the fossil. “Because fossils of large theropods, like tyrannosaurs, were also found in the rocks in Henan, some people initially thought the eggs may have belonged to a tyrannosaur.”
“Thanks to this fossil, we now know that these eggs were laid by a gigantic oviraptorosaur,” Zelenitsky said. “It would have been a sight to behold with a three-ton animal like this sitting on its nest of eggs.”