Smaller mammals can be dangerous to dinosaurs


The dinosaurs are considered the dominant group of their time. But could significantly smaller mammals also pose a threat to terrestrial vertebrates? At least that’s what analyzes of an extremely well-preserved fossil found in China in 2012 suggest.

They show that a carnivorous mammal may have attacked a much larger dinosaur in the Cretaceous Period. A volcanic mudslide gripped the animals at the time, capturing the moment of their battle for eternity, researchers from China and Canada write in the journal Scientific Reports.

They examined the very well-preserved fossil. You see a mammal and a dinosaur about two and a half times as long, intertwined. The researchers led by Ling-Ji Li of the Chinese Ziguang Shi Yan School interpret this as a combat situation.

Smaller mammal attacked dinosaur
They suspect that the mammal attacked the dinosaur. This was indicated by the position of the mammal on the dino and the grabbing and biting actions. It is unlikely that the mammal ate an already dead dinosaur.

It’s one of the few pieces of evidence of mammal predatory behavior toward a dinosaur, said Jordan Mallon, one of the study’s co-authors. This also calls into question the statement that dinosaurs were hardly threatened by mammals during the Cretaceous Period.

According to the researchers, the dinosaur is a Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis, which was almost certainly a herbivore. The specimen therefore comes from the early Cretaceous, about 125 million years ago. The complete skeleton was 119.6 centimeters long.

According to the researchers, the mammal was a Repenomamus robustus, one of the largest mammals from the Cretaceous Period. The specimen was complete except for the tip of the tail and measured 46.7 centimeters in length.

According to the study, the skeletons were found in China’s Yixian Formation. Numerous remains of plants, insects, fish, frogs, mammals and dinosaurs have been discovered in the area, often with many tissue structures.

Both skeletons are almost complete
The find is now in a museum in eastern China’s Shandong province, according to the Canadian National Museum of Natural History and Science in Ottawa. The fossil was discovered in China in 2012, both skeletons are almost complete and volcanic material was found.

In their study, the researchers also discuss why they are convinced that they have not been scammed by a counterfeit. They conclude this, among other things, from the position of the animals and further research.

Source: Krone


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