The fictitious characters in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park may have had a real fear of it, but researchers think they have found the first instance of a mammal being eaten by a dinosaur.
The fossils, which date to 120 million years ago, are not of a human predecessor, but rather are the foot of a creature that was housed inside the ribcage of a tiny, feathered dinosaur called a microraptor.
It is the “first record of a dinosaur devouring a mammal,” according to the palaeontologists, whose research was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
“It’s so uncommon to find examples of food inside dinosaurs, so every example is incredibly important as it gives direct proof of what they were eating,” said Dr. David Hone, the study’s lead author from Queen Mary University of London.
We can look back at some of our distant relatives being a meal for hungry dinosaurs, even though this creature would most definitely not have been a human ancestor.
Even if it isn’t quite as terrifying as anything in Jurassic Park, this study depicts a remarkable historical event — the first instance of a dinosaur consuming a mammal.
Between 125 million and 113 million years ago, in the forests of what is now China, there were microraptors.
According to specialists, certain species may have had the ability to fly while they were on two legs.
They went from tree to tree, hunting tiny animals, and were around the size of small cats or crows.
More than 20 years ago, in 2000, the specimen was first reported, however scientists later claimed that the previous team had been unable to spot the remnants of another animal inside the dinosaur.
According to analysis, the prey was a mouse-sized creature that lived on the ground and was not a proficient climber.
Other fossilized microraptors have been found in the past with preserved non-mammal food in their stomachs, like a bird, lizard, or fish.