A brand new fossil described this week captures two intertwined animals caught in a life-or-death battle proper earlier than each had been entombed in a volcanic occasion. Printed in Scientific Stories this Tuesday, the fossil doesn’t seize one dinosaur attacking one other—somewhat, the predator on this case is a smaller mammal generally known as Repenomamus robustus, and it died with its enamel clamped upon the herbivorous Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis, a dinosaur 3 times its measurement.
Intestine contents from a Repenomamus fossil described in 2005 show this similar mammalian species ate very younger and significantly smaller Psittacosaurus. However the exceptional fossil revealed at present is the primary proof of any Cretaceous mammal attacking a bigger dinosaur. It’s an astounding snapshot of historical conduct, difficult earlier assumptions of predator/prey dynamics hundreds of thousands of years in the past.
A ultimate battle
These two species within the fossil couldn’t be extra completely different. Psittacosaurus is a sort of bipedal ceratopsian dinosaur—an early relative of dinosaurs comparable to Triceratops—with a big beak-like snout and spiky tail bristles. This was a herd animal, and it is essentially the most generally discovered fossil within the Lujiatun Member of the Decrease Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China. This explicit Psittacosaurus was roughly 6.5–10 years previous when it died.
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