Extra! Extra! Double dinosaur news!

Two new fossils include a nearly complete ankylosaur skeleton and an unhatched egg called "Baby Louie"
dinosaur baby louie What a find! This fossil features the largest dinosaur eggs ever found. The ovals on the right image show where the eggs are, while the bones are the remains of Baby Louie, a dinosaur embryo. (Pu H. et al/Nature Communications)


Dinosaurs.

That's all we need to say really to get your attention. Of course, it would be cruel of us to say this magic word if we didn't have a dinosaur story to share with you. Which is sort of true. We don't have a dinosaur story to share with you.

We have two!

Yep, it's a pair of just-breaking dino discoveries on OWLconnected today: an armoured beast named after a movie monster, and a rare embryo (an unhatched egg) called "Baby Louie". Let's get cracking!

Who you gonna call?

In 1986, the film Ghostbusters gave us a whole pile of freaky creatures and monsters. In particular, the biggest baddie of them all was a gross green demon called Zuul. He made quite an impression, to the point where he was all researchers at the Royal Ontario Museum could think of when they started putting together a brand new ankylosaur fossil. Can you see the resemblance?

zuul ghostbusters composite dinosaur
A drawing of what this new armoured dinosaur may have looked like, and on the right... Zuul, from Ghostbusters (1986). (Danielle Dufault/Royal Ontario Museum, Ghostbusters Wiki)

Pretty funny, right? Victoria Arbour, a paleontologist at the ROM who made the connection, told CBC that "Once we put that [name] out there we couldn't not name it that."

Of course, Zuul crurivastator (say zool CRUR-uh-vass-TATE-or) has a few differences between itself and its movie namesake. The biggest one being that it was a pretty timid plant-eater, not a ferocious, inter-dimensional demon! And this new fossil is one of the most complete ever found of an armoured dinosaur species. The researchers think that it will help them understand other, less complete ankylosaur skeletons out there.

Here's a short video to help you get to know this fossil a little better!

Was Baby Louie a baby dragon?

dinosaur baby louie
An illustration shows what Baby Louie might have looked like as it grew inside its egg. (Vladimir Rimbala)

Short answer? No. But that didn't stop researchers from giving this amazing fossil the name Beibeilong sinensis  (say bay-bay-LONG sigh-NEN-sis), meaning "baby dragon from China". Eventually.

Because as remarkable as these well-preserved fossils are, they have been discovered for quite a while. The eggs originally were stars of a National Geographic cover back in 1996! (The photographer for that cover was named Louis Psihoyos, which is how the embryo came to be called Baby Louie.)

So why the wait? These fossils were of such a rare species of dinosaur that researchers spent an extra long time getting everything just right. And so just what would Baby Louie look like full grown?

Giant bird-like dinos

oviraptorosaur dinosaur
An artist's interpretation of a pair of full-grown oviraptorosaurs, caring for their nest. (Zhao Chuang)
In truth, our wee dragon is an embryo of a giant oviraptorosaur. When full grown, these two-legged dinosaurs looked a lot like modern-day cassowaries, a large flightless bird with a powerful kick (except they were a lot larger). They likely measured about 8 m (26 ft.) long and weighed around 3,000 kg (6,600 lbs.).

Though the egg itself is a lot smaller than that—about 45 cm (17 in.) long—these are still the largest known dinosaur eggs found to date. Louie, our adorable baby dragon buddy, would have weighed about 4 kg (9 lbs.) when it hatched.


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