July 31, 2023

Small Mammal and Dinosaur

Small Mammal and Dinosaur

Why in the news?

  • According to a recent scientific study, conducted after the discovery of a fossil in Northeastern China, it has been found that mammals might have hunted dinosaurs many times their size.

Mammals as predators and dinosaurs as prey

  • The Canadian Museum of Nature reveals that dinosaurs and mammals were approximately the same size, both measuring around 10 centimetres based on scale analysis.
  • A recent study in China focused on an extraordinary fossil, suggesting that some early mammals may have hunted dinosaurs for their night time meals. The fossil depicts a mammal-like creature, resembling a scorpion, seen chewing on a dinosaur with a beak three times its size.
  • The fossil was initially discovered by a farmer in 2012 at a site known as "China's Pompeii" in the North-Eastern region. This area experienced a volcanic eruption millions of years ago, resulting in the burial of plants and animals.
  • Scientific reports suggest that the fossil contains remains of two creatures from the Cretaceous period, dating back approximately 125 million years. One creature is identified as a mammal, while the other is a dinosaur.
  • Despite its smaller size, the mammal appears to be attacking the dinosaur in the fossil, and both got trapped in the volcanic flow. The mammal is seen sitting on the dinosaur, gripping its snout and hind limb, while the dinosaur's teeth are stuck in the mammal's jaws.
  • The fossil pair includes a mammal known as Repenomamus robustus, which was a carnivorous creature approximately the size of a domestic cat. The dinosaur is identified as Stegosaurus galatheensis, a medium-sized beaked dinosaur comparable to the size of a large dog.
  • The study raises intriguing questions about the prevailing notion of dinosaurs' dominance on Earth and whether mammals coexisted in their domain.