New Insights: Rare Fossil Reveals Mammal Preying on Dinosaur
Asia/ Terra/ Nature

Revising the Cretaceous-Era: Fossil Unveils Mammal Preying on Dinosaur

Revising the Cretaceous Era Fossil Unveils Mammal Preying on Dinosaur Header

A fossil dating back to around 125 million years ago has unveiled a surprising encounter: a mammal preying on a dinosaur. This extraordinary find challenges the long-standing belief that dinosaurs, the dominant creatures of the Cretaceous era, faced minimal threats from contemporary mammals.

The well-preserved fossil, now housed in China’s Weihai Ziguang Shi Yan School Museum, depicts a dramatic scene where a badger-like mammal, Repenomamus robustus, is attacking a Psittacosaurus – a plant-eating dinosaur about the size of a large dog.

Revising the Cretaceous-Era: Fossil Unveils Mammal Preying on Dinosaur 1
Website/Canadian Museum of Nature

Dr. Jordan Mallon, a paleobiologist with the Canadian Museum of Nature, expounds, “The two animals are locked in mortal combat, intimately intertwined, and it’s among the first evidence to show actual predatory behaviour by a mammal on a dinosaur.”

This discovery upends the notion that mammals were not significant predators during the Cretaceous era. The fossil was found in China’s Liaoning Province in 2012, an area known as the Liujitun fossil beds of “China’s Dinosaur Pompeii,” rich in fossils of dinosaurs, small mammals, lizards, and amphibians. The near-perfect preservation of the fossils suggests that an active attack was in progress when both creatures were abruptly entombed due to a volcanic eruption.

Revising the Cretaceous-Era: Fossil Unveils Mammal Preying on Dinosaur 2
Website/Canadian Museum of Nature

The fossils’ near-complete preservation suggests an active attack was underway when both creatures were suddenly encapsulated following a volcanic event. This scenario rules out the possibility of the mammal scavenging a dead dinosaur. Mallon and his colleagues believe the Repenomamus was the aggressor, consuming the Psittacosaurus while it was still alive.

Findings like these continue to reshape our understanding of prehistoric life, as scientists anticipate more revelations from the expansive Lujiatun fossil beds.

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