ScienceIncredible Dinosaur-Crunching Mammal Fossil Discovered in China

    Incredible Dinosaur-Crunching Mammal Fossil Discovered in China

    For scientists, this is evidence suggesting that dinosaurs, which nevertheless dominated the cetacean fauna, could be attacked by other prehistoric animals.

    A badger-sized mammal that sinks its sharp fangs into the ribs of a dinosaur three times its size when the two become frozen in the ash of a volcanic eruption. A remarkably preserved fossil depicting this scene from 125 million years ago has been discovered in China.

    If mammals were previously considered too small to attack dinosaurs during the tens of millions of years they lived together, this finding suggests that they could actually attack them, explain researchers in the review Scientific Reports released on Tuesday.

    This new fossil is the first evidence that “there existed at least a few fiery mammals, circa the Cretaceous, capable of bringing down an adult dinosaur,” according to Jordan Mallon, a paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

    When I discovered the rock, “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” the scientist who co-signed the study with his Chinese counterparts told AFP.

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    The two prehistoric animals in question are a Repenomamus robustus – one of the largest mammals of its time but weighing only a third of its prey – and a Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis, a four-foot-tall herbivore with a similar beak. to that of a parrot.

    The mammal did not devour the dinosaur

    The way the two skeletons are entwined shows that the first was not feeding on the dinosaur’s corpse, according to Jordan Mallon.

    “The dinosaur collapsed and stuck a hind leg of the mammal in the hollow of its knees”, which suggests an attack by the mammal, notes the paleontologist.

    The skeleton of the dinosaur bears no other bite marks, which would be typical of those left by an animal that has devoured carrion.

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    While it is rare for mammals to attack animals much larger than themselves, an example still exists today, with the wolverine which was observed attacking a caribou, much larger than itself.

    The fossil could not determine whether Repenomamus robustus hunted alone or in packs.

    “The Chinese Pompeii”

    The two almost complete skeletons were discovered in 2012 in Liaoning, a province in northeastern China.

    The site, dubbed “Chinese Pompeii”, is home to numerous remains of dinosaurs and other animals preserved in volcanic debris similar to that of the ancient Roman city.

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    The recent discovery will be exhibited in the museum attached to a primary school in the Chinese city of Weihai.

    Source: BFM TV

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