The ostrich is currently the biggest living bird, standing in at nine feet tall. But that is minuscule when compared to Beibeilong sinensis which was around 26 feet long and weighed in at approximately three tons when fully mature.
The official name for this relatively new species is oviraptorosaur. One of the issues is that when the new species was identified, it was not done by using a full-sized fossil. The estimate in size was made by using an embryo that was found in a fossilized nest full of gigantic eggs.
The first time researchers came into contact with this new species was back in 1990, when a farmer dug them up in the Henan province of China. Pretty soon afterward the specimen ended up in a private collection, and it was only after a few years that researchers were finally invited to examine the fossil remains. When the examination was conducted in 1993, the embryo that was extracted from the stone casing was named Baby Louie. For a while, after it had been uncovered, the fossilized embryo was displayed in the United States before finally being returned to China and displayed in the Henan Geological Museum back in 2013.
Due to the strange situation surrounding the fossil, scientists held back on naming and examining it until it was returned to the place where it originated from – China.
Without the repatriation to China there was no way to describe or name the new species with any degree of certainty. The eggs and embryo had already become famous after an appearance in an issue of National Geographic, but no official scientific journal was ready to publish any concrete information.
When the initial examination was done, the scientists agreed that there was no way that the small creature extracted from the stone casing is a hatchling. It most probably died while still an embryo before being removed from the shell after death.
The embryo was small, but it still came in at about 15 inches in length. Most of its distinct characteristics perfectly matched those of the oviraptorosaur remains found previously in China and Mongolia. The eggs found in the fossilized nest were also pretty significant in size – two feet to be exact. Additionally, the egg’s texture and tubular shape perfectly matched the eggs found in other oviraptorosaur nests. Because of this exact reason, the paleontologists working on the new find were able to name the new species Beibeilong sinensis, which loosely translates into the baby dragon from China.
The current estimates available for the oviraptorosaurs size are somewhere around 26 feet in length, and they weighed in at around three tons. This embryo was probably going to reach that size when fully mature if not bigger.
Interestingly, the prehistoric bird, as girthy as it was, probably lay on its eggs in the same way that many modern birds do today to incubate them.
By examining the nest remains the scientists were able to conclude that the dinosaur laid its eggs in a ring shape with a sizeable hole in the middle where the bird would fit.
As rare as the full-sized and mature fossils of this prehistoric feathery dinosaur are, their eggs are not. Giant eggs like these were found in China, Mongolia, Korea, and all across the North American continent. Because of this, there is still a good chance that discoveries about this species will be made, and soon.
The fact that so many nests have been found thus far means that these birds were probably more common than previously imagined. Future discoveries are bound to tell us more about this feathery behemoth.
As her name suggests, Jenna Small stands little over 4ft tall. Being petite and blonde, many often underestimate her talent. As a result, she spent her entire life working twice as hard to prove that she was the best. Now an established geologist, she does not beat around the bush when it comes to her work. Her research has been published and used in schools throughout the region. She often states that her most significant accomplishment was choosing to better herself through a solid education. When she is not busy unearthing new findings, she volunteers as a motivational speaker to girls who have been victims of bullying, discrimination, or harassment.