During the late 1980s and early 1990s, farmers from Henan, China, excavated and collected thousands of Cretaceous Era dinosaur eggs, many of which were sold overseas in rock and gem shows, stores, and markets. One shipment, imported in 1993 by Colorado-based The Stone Company, included an impressive clutch of big dinosaur eggs. Even more surprising than the multiple eggs was the unveiling of a small dinosaur skeleton, nicknamed Baby Louie in recognition of Louis Psihoyos, who photographed the striking remains.
In 2001, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis acquired the specimen and put it on public exhibit for 12 years, until Baby Louie and the eggs were repatriated to China in December 2013. Baby Louie’s new home is at the Henan Geological Museum in its province of origin, and the tiny dinosaur embryo has a new identity, too.
Paleontologists have just determined that Baby Louie represents a new species of gigantic oviraptorosaur, a dinosaur that would have resembled an oversized modern cassowary. Given the scientific name Beibeilong sinensis (“Baby Dragon”), the new species and associated remains are described in the journal Nature Communications.
“Baby Louie may have been an omnivore, eating both meats and plants,” said co-author Darla Zelenitsky, a professor at the University of Calgary. “It would have had a very strong and robust, but toothless, jaw.”