Italian paleontologists said Wednesday that they had unearthed one of the best-preserved dinosaurs found anywhere in the world, complete with internal organs and muscles.
The young theropod, named Scipionyx samniticus, is more than 110 million years old and is a distant cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex, the king of all carnivores.
Marco Signore of Britain's Bristol University said, "This is unique not only for soft tissues, but this is the first time a dinosaur has been found in Italy. Until three years ago, no geologist here even supposed that dinosaurs could be found here. It should mark a new point for Italian geology."
Signore and Cristiano dal Sasso, of the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale in Milan, found the fossilized hatchling specimen in the Matese Mountains.
In a report in the scientific journal Nature, Signore said the theropod could be a new genus and possibly a new family of dinosaur, but paleontologists were not yet sure.