The 125-million-year-old dinosaur fossil has the oldest navel known to science – IGN

Paleontologists have discovered the oldest navel known to science on a 125 million-year-old dinosaur fossil from the genus Psittacosaurus. Oh, the fossil also had the first dinosaur hole ever found.

As he reported live science, Psittacosaurus lived during the Cretaceous period, which was between 145 and 66 million years ago, and scientists discovered this navel after exposing the fossil to a concentrated beam of laser light.

Artistic representation of Psittakosaurus.  Image Credit: Jagged Fang Designs

Artistic representation of Psittakosaurus. Image Credit: Jagged Fang Designs

These scientists reported their findings in a journal BMC biology June 7 and say they spotted a “thin trail of umbilical scar” that is “a small mismatch in the skin and shell pattern across the dinosaur’s belly and is the reptilian equivalent of a mammalian navel”.

While fetal mammals get their nutrients from the placenta, birds and reptiles get what they need from the yolk sac that connects to their abdomen through blood vessels. When these types of creatures hatch, the yolk is absorbed into the body, and the abdominal scar is all that remains.

In most birds and reptiles, the scar heals in a few days or weeks, but some reptiles, including alligators, may have a scar “outside of sexual maturity”. This fossil has shed new light on dinosaurs and suggests that some dinosaurs had these scars that did not heal early.

The fossil, known as SMF R 4970, was an early type of ceratops called Psittacosaurus mongoliensis that belonged to a group of beaked herbivores that included triceratops. It was discovered about 20 years ago, and was so well preserved because the dinosaur was “fossilized while lying on its back.” This also led scientists to discover the aforementioned “perfect” and “unique” hole.

“Using LSF imaging, we identified recognizable scales surrounding a long umbilical scar on a specimen of Psittacosaurus, similarly [scars in] certain living lizards and crocodiles, “said paleontologist Michael Pittman, an assistant professor at the School of Natural Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in a statement.” We call this type of scar a navel, and it’s smaller in humans. This specimen is the first dinosaur fossil to preserve the navel, which is responsible for its exceptional preservation. “

In addition to its importance to science, this fossil has also been the subject of “fierce controversy over repatriation.” The fossil was discovered in an unknown region of China in the 1980s or 1990s and was “allegedly smuggled from the country into underground European markets before being purchased and exhibited in 2001 at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany.”

“Discussions are underway on the legal ownership of this specimen and efforts to return it to China have been unsuccessful. Our international team of Australian, Belgian, British, Chinese and American members hopes and supports a friendly solution to this ongoing debate,” the researchers wrote in “We think it is important to note that the copy was purchased by the Senckenberg Museum to prevent its sale into private hands and to ensure its availability for scientific study.”

For more on dinosaurs, check out how Tyrannosaurus Rex were actually three separate dinosaurs and recently discovered dinosaurs in England called “Hell Heron” and “Riverbank Hunter”.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and so on Snatch.


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