Chinese scientists have obtained gene fragments from a fossilized dinosaur egg believed to be 70 million years old, an official report said.
The egg was found in central China’s Henan province, the Xinhua News Agency said.
Beijing University scientists found amino acids inside the egg, and were able to locate DNA and recover “a variety of gene fragments,” Xinhua said in the report Wednesday.
It said this was the first time dinosaur genetic material has been extracted from a fossilized egg.
It was not immediately possible to verify the discovery or Xinhua’s claim that the find was a first.
Last year, Brigham Young University researchers said they isolated DNA from the bony remains of a dinosaur that died in a Utah peat bog 80 million years ago.
But some experts were skeptical about whether that DNA actually came from a dinosaur.
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the chemical molecule that holds a species’ genetic code.
In a separate report, Xinhua said fossilized dinosaur eggs found in south China may provide new clues about what caused the animals to become extinct.
Scientists have found 305 nearly intact dinosaur eggs and 20,000 shell pieces in 24 nests, it said.
Some eggshells showed signs of disease and tests indicated unusually high levels of trace elements, it said.