Navigation Links
Dinosaur fossil: Even specialized predators didn't turn down free meals

Scientists have discovered a bone from a pterosaur (giant flying reptile or 'pterodactyl') in the guts of the skeletal remains of a Velociraptor (small predatory theropod dinosaur) that lived in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia some 75 million years ago.

The findings published online in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology, support the idea that Velociraptor, a carnivore with a specialised sickle shaped slashing talon on the second toe of each foot and large grasping hands, would also scavenge on available carcasses rather than turn down a free meal.

They also indicate that small non-avian dinosaurs were capable of consuming relatively large bones, something that we see in modern crocodiles.

The international research team involved scientists from University College Dublin, Ireland; the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Japan; the Museum of Natural Sciences, Okayama, Japan; and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatr, Mongolia.

"It would be difficult and probably even dangerous for the small theropod dinosaur to target a pterosaur with a wingspan of 2 metres or more, unless the pterosaur was already ill or injured," says Dr David Hone, one of the co-authors of the study, who was based at the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University College Dublin, Ireland, at the time of the analysis.

"So the pterosaur bone we've identified in the gut of the Velociraptor was most likely scavenged from a carcass rather than the result of a predatory kill."

The fossil, originally recovered from the Gobi Desert in 1994, shows the well preserved 75 mm long pterosaur bone lodged in the upper part of the Velociraptor ribcage where its stomach would have been.

"The surface of the bone is smooth and in good condition, with no unusual traces of marks or deformation that could be attributed to digestive acids," says Dr Hone.

"So it's likely that the Velociraptor itself died not long after ingesting the bone."

Further analysis of the skeletal remains of the Velociraptor showed that it was carrying, or recovering from, an injury to its ribs when it died.

This is the first time that bones from a pterosaur have been uncovered as gut contents from dinosaur remains.


Contact: Dominic Martella
University College Dublin

Related biology news :

1. Polysternon isonae, a new species of turtle that lived with dinosaurs in Isona
2. Plant-eating dinosaur discovered in Antarctica
3. Dinosaurs with killer claws yield new theory about flight
4. New Montana State University, Pennsylvania study reveals North Americas biggest dinosaur
5. New horned dinosaur announced nearly 100 years after discovery
6. Skin bones helped large dinosaurs survive, new study says
7. Paleontologist describes large nest of juvenile dinosaurs, first of their genus ever found
8. Super-sized muscle made twin-horned dinosaur a speedster
9. Rebuilding the head of an armoured dinosaur
10. Tree resin captures evolution of feathers on dinosaurs and birds
11. Newborn dinosaur discovered in Maryland
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/4/2017)... -- GCE Solutions, a global clinical research organization (CRO), announces the launch ... October 4, 2017. Shadow is designed to assist medical writers and ... of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in meeting the requirements for ... ... ...
(Date:6/30/2017)... , June 30, 2017 Today, ... developer and supplier of face and eye tracking ... Featured Product provider program. "Artificial ... innovative way to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels ... from being able to detect fatigue and prevent ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( ... age and identity verification solutions, announced today they will ... 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... International Trade Center. Identity impacts the ... in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The ... three Winners and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young ... Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences to honor ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze and interpret ... Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery of the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., ... a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. ... best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh ... orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of ... SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: