Paleontologists present in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology the first known case in the fossil record of “a dinosaur eating a mammal”.
These are fossil remains of about 120 million years ago of a small feathered dinosaur, known as a microraptor, with an animal foot inside its ribcage.
Dr David Hone, from Queen Mary University of London, UK, the first author of the study, said: “It is very rare to find examples of food inside dinosaurs, so each example is really important as it gives direct evidence of what they were eating.”
Although this mammal would not have been a human ancestor at all, we can remember that some of our ancient relatives were food of hungry dinosaurs.
“This study portrays a fascinating moment in time, the first record of a dinosaur eating a mammal, It’s not as scary as anything in Jurassic Park thoughHone added.
the microraptors they lived in the ancient forests of what is now China, between 125 and 113 million years ago. Although they moved on their two legs, experts believe that some species may be capable of guided flight. About the size of a crow or small cat, microraptors would have flown from tree to tree to hunt small game.
Although the specimen was first described in 2000, the researchers noted that previous equipment he had not been able to see remains of another animal inside of the dinosaur. Further analysis suggests that the prey was a mouse-sized mammal, probably ground-dwelling and not a good climber.
Previous research has shown other microraptor specimens with food stored in the stomach, such as a bird, a lizard, and a fish. However, the team added that it is not known for certain if these dinosaurs fed directly on these animals or if they found them already dead and devoured them.
Dr Alex Dececchi, from Mount Marty College in South Dakota, USA, and one of the study authors, said: “The good thing is that, like your house cat, who was about the same size, the microraptor would have been an animal that would have been easy to live with, but a terror if he went out, since he would hunt everything, from the birds in your feeder to the mice in your hedge or the fish in your pond.”