Dinosaur Egg Detectives Cracking the Case
Part 8 - Who is "Baby Louie"?

From the very beginning, the experts agreed that "Baby Louie" was some type of theropod, commonly referred to as a "meat eating" dinosaur. They determined this from the structure of the eggshell and "Baby Louie's" hollow bones, but it wasn't clear what kind of theropod. It is not always obvious which species of dinosaur laid a particular egg, even when bones are found. This is partially because the skeleton of an embryo is small and fragile. In addition, the skeleton is initially made of cartilage that does not preserve well before calcification occurs. Also, the skeleton of an embryo is immature and may not show the characteristics used to identify the adult animal of the same species. Embryos are also very susceptible to destruction by bacteria, insects and other predators.

Initially, some thought that "Baby Louie" was the Chinese cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex known as Tarbosaurus bataar. Later, as more bones were revealed, some thought that "Baby Louie" was an obscure dinosaur called a therizinosaur (THAIR-ih-ZINE-oh-sawr). In 1995, Canadian artist, Brian Cooley created the first "life-like" model of "Baby Louie". The therizinosaur embryo he created was featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine. Magovern named "Baby Louie" after Louie Psihoyos, who photographed it, as well as many other dinosaur eggs owned by the Magovern's, for National Geographic's story, "The Great Dinosaur Egg Hunt" that was published in the May 1996 issue of the magazine.

Dinosaur embryo "life-like" therizinosaur model of "Baby Louie" by Brian Cooley.
Photograph by Louie Psihoyos,
author of Hunting Dinosaurs
Click image to see photographer Louie Psihoyos at work behind the camera. Photo of Louie Psihoyos at work courtesy of
StoneCompany.com, Inc.

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