Just one week after finding feathers on the ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex, Chinese and US scientists have announced the discovery of a dinosaur curled up like a sleeping cygnet.
&to=http://english.pravda.ru/science/ 19/94/378/10924_prehistoric.html?3' target=_blank>The fossil - named Mei long, the Chinese for "soundly sleeping dragon" - must have perished in its sleep around 130m years ago. It was unearthed from the Yixian formation in China's Liaoning province.
This formation, of river sediments and volcanic ash, has yielded an enormous variety of fossilised fish, birds, insects, reptiles, flowers, mammals and dinosaurs from the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods. In many cases, soft tissue - internal organs, skin, feathers - has also been preserved, reports Guardian.
According to Reuters, the small two-legged &to=http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/13567_dinosaur.html' target=_blank>dinosaur was discovered in China, curled up with its head tucked under the forearm similar to how modern birds sleep.
"This is the first report of sleeping behavior in dinosaurs," Xing Xu, of the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, told Reuters on Wednesday.
"We've never had any other information about a dinosaur sleeping."
Dubbed Mei long, which means "soundly sleeping dragon" in Chinese, the dinosaur was about 21 inches long or about the size of a large bird. Several features indicate its avian origins.
"It is one of the most complete skeletons I have ever seen. It is a perfect preservation. We have almost every bone in the skeleton," Xu explained.
"There is no disturbance. The body is arranged in a life-like posture."
The sleeping skeleton was found near Beipiao City in Liaoning province, an area rich in fossils that have revealed secrets of dinosaur behavior.
Near the United Nations Glass Palace in New York, there is a metallic sculpture entitled "Evil Defeated by Good", representing Saint George transfixing a dragon with his lance. It was donated by the USSR in 1990 to celebrate the INF Treaty concluded with the USA in 1987