dinosaur museum

June 2017 Newsletter

So many blossoms and buds bursting forth with life…I love spring!

Baby Louie, the Dinosaur Orphan

In the early 1990’s a 90 million year old fossilized dinosaur embryo was found among a clutch of eggs in Henan Province, in Central China. Each of the eggs measured about 18 inches long and 6 inches wide, making them among the largest dinosaur eggs ever uncovered. There was all sort of speculation on what laid the eggs said Darla Zelenitsky, a paleontologist at the University of Calgary in Alberta. Finally Dr. Zelenitsky and her colleagues have linked the discovery with their prehistoric lineage. Baby Louie belongs to a group of large, birdlike dinosaurs known as giant oviraptorosaurs. They resemble cassowaries and ostriches but were about as heavy as a rhino and as tall as an elephant. Baby Louie is the first discovered member of a new species of giant oviraptorosaur called Beibeilong sinensis, which roughly means “Chinese baby dragon.” These findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.

These kinds of large dinosaur eggs are known as Macroelongatoolithus eggs and have also been found in North America. Only this clutch of eggs with Baby Louie offered a skeleton that was closely associated with the eggs. Charlie Magovern, a fossil dealer, came into possession of the rocks that held the eggs and unexpectedly discovered the fossilized fetus bones. In 1996, Baby Louie was featured on the cover of National Geographic, and was named after the photographer for the featured article, Louis Psihoyos. Baby Louis remained with Charlie Magovern until 2001 when he sold it to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. It was on display there for about 12 years. In 2007 the first giant oviraptorosaur fossil was found. In 2013 the fossilized embryo was returned and put on display in the Henan Geological Museum in Zhengzhou.

Geri Lebold
Education Director

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