Oldest dinosaur embryos identified

Published on November 12th, 2010 | by Sevaan Franks

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embryo

Palaeontologists have identified the world’s oldest dinosaur embryos, dating back 190 million years.

Massospondylus belonged to a group of dinosaurs known as prosauropods, the ancestors of sauropods – huge, four-legged dinosaurs with long necks.

Having studied the tiny (20cm-long) skeletons, the researchers noted that the embryos were almost about to hatch – but never had the chance.

Interestingly, the report says, the embryos looked quite different compared to the adult animals.

Once hatched, the babies would have had rather long front legs, meaning that they would have been walking on all fours rather than on two legs like the adults.

The embryos’ heads were also disproportionally big, but it is believed the adult Massospondylus, which were about five metres in length, had relatively tiny heads and long necks.

The little ones’ anatomy would have changed with age.

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