Beibeilong Sinensis; Baby Dragon from China finally got its name after 25 years of its excavation. The mysterious 90 million years old fetus – Baby Louie was identified as a new species of Giant Oviraptorosaur and named Beibeilong sinensis.
In 1992 when it was unearthed from Henan, China, it was illegally exported to US but it came back to China in 2013 providing opportunity for the scientists there to continue their research on it. Charles Magovern the fossil dealer from Colorado, who bought this fossil from China, believed it to be a leg bone which actually turned out to be a 15 inch fossilized fetus. The small body size of Oviraptorosaur kept paleontologist wondering about the species until the discovery of Gogantoraptor from North Central China.
The giant oviraptorosaur –Gigantoraptor provided the much needed breakthrough to Darla Zelenitsky, a dinosaur researcher at the University of Calgary in Canada and her team. The fossil of Gigantoraptor was 26 feet long and 16 feet tall, and had a toothless lower jaw, discovery of that species convinced paleontologist that giant Oviraptorosaurs did exist, but scientists also found that Baby Louie wasn’t a Gigantoraptor even though it would have grown to match the proportions of a Gigantoraptor. So, they classified the embrayo as a new species of Oviraptorosaur. The fossil was found in well preserved condition along with other eggs in similar condition, which might be part of a massive nest.
Oviraptorosaurs existed about 65 to 130 million years ago. They were considered to be the largest nesting bird till date. They had long legs and short tails; they used beaks instead of their teeth to tear out food.
Paleontologist had a tremendous journey in search of Baby Louie’s identity which ended with the study of the embryo that died before hatching and declaring it as a new dinosaur species of Oviraptorosaur. “This specimen represents the youngest individual known and the earliest growth stage of a giant oviraptorosaur,” said Darla Zelenitsky.