A 110-Million-Year-Old Bird Fossil With Unlaid Egg Found in China

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A unique finding has recently happened in China. The scientists found a 110-million-year-old bird fossil with unlaid egg. This finding is unique because a birds fossil has never been seen with an egg inside of it. The remnants are incredibly well preserved according to scientists, and the fossil of a bird that existed in the time of the dinosaurs can help science find out more about the reproduction of birds.

The discovery took place in some deposits from northwestern China, and the bird fossil with unlaid egg is 110 million years old. The remnants belong to a new species called Avimaia Schweitzerae.

The specimen belongs to a group called the “opposite birds,” in scientific terms, the Enantiornithes, which lived all around the world during the Cretaceous Period, and were quite common and lived alongside the dinosaurs. Scientists have discovered a further tragic secret – the egg might have killed the mother bird.

A 110-Million-Year-Old Bird Fossil With Unlaid Egg Found in China

A team of scientist made the discovery while they were led by Doctor Jingmai O’Connor and Doctor Alida Bailleul from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Bailleul said that “the new bird fossil is incredibly well preserved, including the remains of an egg inside its abdomen.”

The team realized that the unusual tissue was an egg but not before they extracted and analyzed a small fragment using powerful microscopes. The eggshell fragment has been examined in detail, and that revealed many interesting facts. One of them would be that this female bird’s reproductive system was not functioning as it was supposed to.

“The eggshell consists of two layers instead of one as in normal healthy bird eggs, indicating the egg was retained too long inside the abdomen,” Bailleul added. When modern birds are under a lot of stress, this condition occurs quite often, too. But in the case of the 110-million-year-old bird fossil with unlaid egg, the second layer of eggshell or even more than that formed around the egg.