“These animals were quickly covered with fine sediment while still alive or dead,” said Pascal Codebroid, an archaeologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
The scientist said the effect would be similar to what happened in Pompeii. The new species was named Sangmionia leoningensis, according to a news release. Sangmian means “eternal sleep” in Chinese.
Scientists believe that Arnithopat lived during the Cretaceous and is a small plant that can move very fast in terms of its tail length and its foot composition. It was about 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) long.
“However, some characteristics of the skeleton suggest that Sangminia burrows may be excavated, as rabbits do today,” Codebroid said.
“Its neck and forearms are very short, but strong, and its shoulder blades are characteristic of burying the spines and the surface of its tip is shaped like a shovel.”