A new dinosaur species has been discovered after millions of years old fossils were found in China.
Archaeologists believe the 125 million year old species was able to dig itself into the ground.
Scientists found the fossils after a burrow containing two specimens was covered by what scientists believe was mud flowing from a nearby volcano.
Palaeontologists discovered the 1.2 metres (3.94 feet) long fossils in the ‘Lujiatun Beds’ in Liaoning Province in northeast China.
The new species has been named “Changmiania liaoningensis” after the Chinese word for ‘eternal sleep’, Changmian’.
Pascal Godefroit, a palaeontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), said they believed the dinosaurs could burrow into the ground, and believes they became somehow trapped and preserved forever in their underground burrow while resting because of the natural postures.
He said: “They are still in a lifelike position and the fossils do not show any wear or food marks. Possibly the animals were surprised by a lahar, a mudflow with volcanic material. We know that the area was volcanic at the time.”
A lahar is a typically sudden and violent mudflow containing material washed down from the side of a volcano after heavy rains. They are extremely fast and very powerful and are known for being able to destroy any structures in their way.
The body characteristics of the newly discovered dinosaur the Changmiania suggest that they did live above ground, but could dig burrows, a bit like rabbits. Mr Godefroit added: “It had a short, but robust neck and forearms. The top of the snout was the ‘shovel’, and it had shoulder blades typical of diggers.”
The fossils now belong to the collections of the Paleontological Museum in Liaoning.
Hundreds of beautifully preserved dinosaur skeletons, including feathered dinosaurs, have been excavated nearby over the past 20 years.