Scientists claim first discovery of mammal eaten by dinosaur |  dinosaurs

Scientists claim first discovery of mammal eaten by dinosaur | dinosaurs

Scientists claim first discovery of mammal eaten by dinosaur | dinosaurs

It may have been a pressing fear for the fictional characters in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park, but scientists think they’ve uncovered the first known incident of a mammal being eaten by a dinosaur.

However, the fossils from 120 million years ago are not of a human ancestor, but the foot of an animal in the ribcage of a small feathered dinosaur known as a microraptor.

The paleontologists said their findings, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, are the “first record of a dinosaur eating a mammal.”

Scientists claim first discovery of mammal eaten by dinosaur |  dinosaurs
An artist’s impression published by Queen Mary University of London of the small, feathered dinosaur known as microraptor. Photo: Ralph Attanasia III/PA

Dr. David Hone of Queen Mary University of London, who is the study’s first author, said: “It’s so rare to find examples of food in dinosaurs, so every example is really important because it gives direct evidence of what they were doing. were the food.

“While this mammal definitely wouldn’t have been a human ancestor, we can look back to some of our ancient relatives that were a meal for hungry dinosaurs.

“This study paints a picture of a fascinating moment in time — the first record of a dinosaur eating a mammal — even if it’s not quite as terrifying as something in Jurassic Park.”

Microraptors lived in the primeval forests of what is now China sometime between 125 and 113 million years ago.

As it moved on its two legs, experts believe some species may have been capable of guided flight.

They were the size of crows, or small cats, and moved from tree to tree hunting small animals.

The specimen was first described more than 20 years ago, in 2000, but researchers said the previous team hadn’t seen the remains of another animal in the dinosaur.

Analysis has suggested that the prey was a mouse-sized mammal that lived on the ground and was not a good climber.

Previous research has shown other microraptor fossils with preserved non-mammal food in their stomachs, such as a bird, lizard or fish.



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