“Soon these animals were covered in soft sediments while they were still alive or soon after their death,” said Pascal Godfroit, a paleontologist from the Belgian Royal Institute of Natural Sciences.
The scientist said the effect would be very similar to what happened in Pompeii. The new species was named Changmiania liaoningensis, according to the press release. Changmian means “eternal sleep” in Chinese.
Scientists conclude that Ornithopod lived during the Cretaceous period and that it was a small herbivore that could operate very quickly, depending on the length of its tail and the composition of its leg. It was about 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) tall.
“However, some skeletal characteristics indicate that Changmiania can dig burrows, just as rabbits do today,” Godfreuth said.
“Its neck and forearms are very short but sturdy, its shoulder blades are characteristic of burrowing vertebrates, and the upper part of its nose is shaped like a spade.”
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