Why did a group of 39 baby dinosaurs die together around 125 million years ago? A dinosaur fossil on display in the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning province can reveal the secret.
The intact fossil contains a group of 39 Psittacosaurus, a small dinosaur with a parrot-like beak, according to Liu Sen, Director with the museum's display department, reports Xinhua news agency Each dinosaur measures between 25cm and 40cm long.
The fossil was discovered in the city of Chaoyang and is believed to have existed during the Cretaceous period.
"Psittacosaurus lived in groups and usually gathered and fed juveniles together. Adult dinosaurs sought food in turns," Liu said, adding that under this behavioural habit the juvenile dinosaurs were likely to be buried if there was a flood or mudslide.
Researchers believe such a tragedy happened.
"In this group of fossilized dinosaurs, their bodies all faced in the same direction. We believe that they had gone through a catastrophe like a flood or mudslide," Liu said.
At that time, Liaoning was rich in forest and lakes, while volcanoes occasionally erupted. Psittacosaurus ate grass and served as prey for other carnivorous dinosaurs.