An incredible fossil has kept intact the picture of the struggle for survival that took place 125 million years ago between a dinosaur and a mammal. The dramatic moment with The two animals cling to each other As the little carnivore sinks its teeth into the dinosaur, it was “crystallized” by a volcanic eruption.
The discovery, published in the journal Scientific Reports, would show that mammals could also pose a threat to adult dinosaurs, leading us to reconsider the idea that the latter could pose a threat They didn’t have to fear predators. The fossil, with its almost photographic evidence, is one of the first pieces of evidence pointing in this direction.
Who are the protagonists of the clash?
The prey is a specimen of Psittacosaurus, a herbivorous dinosaur the size of a large dog who lived in Asia in the Lower Cretaceous 125 to 105 million years ago. The attacker is a badger-like animal, named Repenomamus robustus, smaller than a dinosaur but one of the largest mammals that lived during the Cretaceous period.
“The coexistence of these two animals is nothing new,” explains Jordan Mallon, one of the study’s authors Predatory behavior is new that the fossils document”.
The fight was cut short forever by a volcanic eruption
The fossil was found in the Chinese province of Liaoning in 2012 and both skeletons are nearly complete. Their completeness is due to the fact that they come from an area known as the Liujitun fossil pits, nicknamed “Liujitun”. “Pompeii of Chinese Dinosaurs”.
The name refers to the numerous fossils of dinosaurs, small mammals, lizards and amphibians found in the area, animals suddenly buried en masse by mudslides and debris after one or more volcanic eruptions.
In the details of the fossil, the struggle from moment to moment
A close examination of the fossil shows that the psittacosaurus lies on the ground, The hind legs are attached to the side of the body. The repenomamus turns right and rests on its prey, grab the jaw of the dinosaur biting off some ribs and clinging to the dinosaur’s hind leg with his hind leg.
The researchers ruled out the possibility that the mammal simply lied bite into a dead dinosaur. The dinosaur’s bones show no sign of teethexplains the study, suggesting that it was the victim of an attack while it was alive and it is unlikely that the two animals would have intertwined in this way if the dinosaur had already been dead. The position of the Repenomamus over the Psittacosaurus suggests that he was also the attacker.