OMG, baby dinosaurs. A whole nest of them. How cute is that? Oh, and they're duck-billed dinosaurs, which are probably the cutest kind. Saurolophus angustirostris, to be specific.
A study published this week in PLOS ONE reports that the gaggle of baby dinosaurs was found in an area of Mongolia's Gobi desert aptly named the "dragon's tomb." It's been a dinosaur fossil hotbed since its discovery in 1947.
The three or four dinosaurs -- along with a couple of egg fragments -- are believed to have belonged to a single nest. Researchers believe the dinosaurs were in the very earliest stages of development. They may even have died before they hatched.
What's cool about these beautiful babies is that, while scientists are pretty sure they belong to the species Saurolophus angustirostris, they're super small and undeveloped. They don't even have the head crest their species is known for. That suggests that this is a feature the dinosaurs had to grow into.
Unfortunately, while the fossils provide an intriguing look into the development of a well-known dinosaur, scientists don't have all the pieces of the puzzle. The study explains that the fossils were poached from the dragon's tomb, then sold to private collectors in Japan, then in Europe. They were later donated to a research institute, leading to their close examination, but without the context of where they were found and their specific position, it's hard to say where the nest might have been built. The best guess is that it was on a riverbank, where it was later swept away and covered in sand.
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