China: The volcanic eruption caused the cave where two sleeping bird-footed dinosaurs to collapse suddenly and bury them.
Rebuilt from a fossil of Changmiania liaoningensis. Photo: Live Science.
The preserved remains of two reptiles nearly 1.1 meters long looked so authentic that the researchers named the new discovery Changmiania liaoningensis, meaning “the perpetual sleeping object comes from Liaoning” . They hypothesized two C. liaoningensis specimens were suddenly trapped in an underground cave while resting. This could explain the pair’s vividly perfect posture and why their bodies were not damaged.
Farmers in China’s northeastern Liaoning province were among the first to discover two specimens. Lien Ninh C Archaeological Museum is storing fossil corpses of C. liaoningensis. An international team of researchers from China, Argentina and Belgium conducted an examination of the animal’s body characteristics. They published the results of the analysis on 8/9 in the journal PeerJ.
The analysis of the researchers revealed that C. liaoningensis was a bird-footed dinosaur, a dinosaur that walked on two legs. Based on its strong hind legs and long hard tail, the team speculated that C. liaoningensis was running very fast. Furthermore, it is also a burrowing specialist. “Some features of the skeleton suggest that C. liaoningensis could burrow, similar to today’s rabbits,” said Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. “Its neck and forearms were short but muscular, and the muzzle was like a shovel.”
The Lujiatun Formation, where the specimen was found, is famous for many distinctive fossils preserved by the ancient volcanic eruption. Researchers speculate that the skeleton of C. liaoningensis collapsed when a stream of volcanic debris swept over. The lively stance of the two dinosaurs proved that they were quickly buried alive.