Baby Louie, a fossilized infant dragon, is a famous dinosaur embryo. National Geographic debuted the baby dragon in 1996. Today, it has received its proper species name and was identified to belong to a dinosaur family.
Baby Louie, the baby dragon, re-appeared two decades after it was first introduced because a recent paper published in the journal Nature identified its origin. The illustration of the pebble brown reptile inside an egg cut in half showing the embryo popularized Baby Louie when it appeared as a cover of the said magazine.
The baby dragon was discovered in a nest of dinosaur eggs more than 25 years ago. It is believed to be a feathered species that could potentially grow up to 1,000 kilograms, according to BBC.
“This specimen represents the youngest individual known and the earliest growth stage of a giant oviraptorosaur,” Darla Zelenitsky, co-author of the paper and a dinosaur researcher at the University of Calgary in Canada said in an interview.
Louie, the baby dragon, is officially identified as a new dinosaur species called Beibeilong sinenses or Chinese baby dragon. The baby dragon was discovered in China during the peak of dino egg excavations in the country in the year 1992 to 1993 in the Henan Province. Today, the fossilized embryo is still in China.
Scientists, however, laments the fact that the baby dragon may forever remain in private hands since there is no record stating whether or not the specimen was poached. Reports say some parts of its nest made its way to the US.
“The lengthy time of the fossil’s residence outside China certainly slowed down our research on the project,” Zelenitsky added.
The identification of the new dinosaur species from fossilized embryo suggests that there’s a wide variety of oviraptorosaurs during that time. The species tend to reproduce in an odd way and had the capability to grow into humongous feathery creatures from the tiny eggs and embryos the size of a guinea pig.