Friday, February 11, 2005

Dinosaur Eating Dogs. . .

Puppy Chow

. . . have been discovered from the Mesozoic Era, some 130 million years ago:

"Scientists in China have uncovered the fossil remains of two mammals that lived around 130 million years ago. The finds will revolutionize current thinking about life during the Mesozoic era (248 million to 65 million years ago), a time when both dinosaurs and mammals arose.

One incredibly well-preserved fossil—of an early mammal known as Repenomamus robustus—had the remains of a small dinosaur in its belly. It is the first evidence that mammals dined on dinosaurs.

R. giganticus was a squat, powerful mammal with large fangy front teeth," Anne Weil, a paleontologist at Duke University said. "And believe me, it's not something you'd like to have hold of your leg."

The two early mammal species were probably predators, not scavengers, say the scientists. Their teeth were large and pointy, and their jaw musculature was strong. This suggests that they were capable of capturing, holding, and ripping apart their prey. The juvenile Psittacosaurus dinosaur found in the stomach of the R. robustus fossil looked to have been dismembered and swallowed in chunks, rather than chewed.