An impressive find of a navel in a prehistoric fossil of a dinosaur from the Cretaceous was discovered by researchers at the University of China in Hong Kong.
This could be revealed by the use of high power laser technology.
Dr. Michael Pittman, assistant professor at the School of Life Sciences at CUHK (Chinese University of Hong Kong) applied the laser-stimulated fluorescence (LSF) technique to a fossilized skin specimen from Psittacosaurusa two-meter-long, two-legged plant-eating animal.
“Using LSF images, we identified distinctive scales surrounding a long umbilical scar on the Psittacosaurus specimen, similar to certain living lizards and crocodilians. We call this type of scar a navel, and it is smaller in humans. This specimen is the first dinosaur fossil to retain a navel, which is due to its exceptional state of preservation.”
did you know that #dinosaurs had belly buttons? That's what my new paper led by Phil Bell reveals today in @BMCBiology! Happy to have started this project, which has led to the discovery of such an interesting feature in dinosaurs! Artwork by @JFD_001. 1/3 https://t.co/r5Ez6DsWR8 pic.twitter.com/uPee80RmJF
— Christophe Hendrickx (@Ch_Hendrickx) June 7, 2022
Unlike humans, dinosaurs did not have an umbilical cord because they laid eggs. Instead, the yolk sac of dinosaurs was attached directly to the body through a slit-like opening, which is also found in other land animals that lay eggs. It is this opening that is sealed around the time the animal hatches, leaving a long and distinctive umbilical scar, creating this kind of navel.
Dr. Phil R. Bell of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, lead author and joint correspondent on the study, commented: “This specimen of Psittacosaurus it is probably the most important fossil we have to study the skin of dinosaurs. But it continues to produce surprises that we can bring to life with new technology like laser imaging.”