A study published Tuesday described a rare fossil that scientists believe shows an ancient mammal “locked in mortal combat” with a dinosaur.
Researchers found a 125 million-year-old fossil at the Lujiatun Member of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China, which appears to show a gobiconodontid mammal and a psittacosauris dinosaur engaged in a fight to the death, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Due to the preservation of the fossil, the scientists hypothesized the smaller mammal was actually trying to eat the dinosaur.
Unfortunately our mammalian ancestor’s hunt was interrupted when a nearby volcanic eruption sent volcanic debris over the creature and his prospective kill. Images of the fossil were shared on social media, showing remarkable preservation.
A fossil unearthed in NE China’s Liaoning showed a badger-like mammal in the act of attacking a plant-eating dinosaur about 125 million years ago, sinking its teeth into its victim’s ribs, scientists said on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/eXeXYgGFbc
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) July 18, 2023
“This turns the old story on its head,” University of Edinburgh paleontologist Steve Brusatte, who wasn’t involved with the study, told The Associated Press. “We’re used to thinking of the Age of Dinosaurs as a time when dinosaurs ruled the world, and the tiny mammals cowered in the shadows.” (RELATED: Our Earliest Ancestors Walked Amongst The Dinosaurs, Study Claims)
But in this instance, the house cat-sized mammal was attempting to eat the dinosaur, which was roughly the size of a medium-sized dog, according to The AP. The latter was a plant-eater, which goes to show how dangerous veganism can be.