Academic journal article Science and Children

Dinosaur Fossil: Even Specialized Predators Didn't Turn Down Free Meals

Academic journal article Science and Children

Dinosaur Fossil: Even Specialized Predators Didn't Turn Down Free Meals

Article excerpt

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 specialized 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 nonavian dinosaurs were capable of consuming relatively large bones, something that we see in modern crocodiles.

"It would be difficult and probably even dangerous for the small theropod dinosaur to target a pterosaur with a wingspan of 2 meters or more, unless the pterosaur was already ill or injured," says David Hone, one of the co-authors of the study.

"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. …

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