A fossilized baby dinosaur from Italy has proved to be so well-preserved that scientists can see muscle fibers and the intestine.

It's not the first time that fossilized soft tissues have been found in dinosaur specimens, but experts said the degree of preservation is outstanding.The creature, from a previously unknown species, was a two-legged meat-eater that lived some 113 million years ago in what is now southern Italy. Little more than a hatchling, the creature might have measured only about 2 feet long from snout to the tip of its tail when it died.

The fossil includes the skull and nearly all the skeleton, though it is missing part of the legs and much of the tail. The specimen is embedded in a slab of rock.

It was found in the 1980s by a private collector. A detailed description appears in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

It was Italy's first dinosaur find, said Cristiano Dal Sasso of the Museum of Natural History in Milan, Italy, who reports the description with a colleague.

Dal Sasso said that despite the exceptional preservation, no DNA remains for analysis.

The creature, dubbed Scipionyx samniticus, might have grown to more than 6 feet long if it had reached adulthood, he said.