SCIENTISTS MAKE FIRST EVE DISCOVERY OF MAMMAL FOOT INSIDE A DINOSAUR FOSSIL
The dinosaur discoveries just keep happening without any pause the last few years. This time, scientists have found a mammal foot inside a dinosaur fossil. We “knew” that dinosaurs dined on mammals, with a lot of logical presumption. But now we “know” that dinosaurs ate mammals, with hard (fossilized hard) evidence to boot. Well, to foot, that is, sans boot. The dinosaur fossil was of a Microraptor zhaoinus, though we tend to simply call them Microraptors. They were a small, four-winged dinosaur that we’ve found many fossilized examples of.
MICRORAPTORS ATE ALMOST ANYTHING, BUT MAMMAL FOOT NOW PROVES DINOSAURS ATE MAMMALS, TOO
In fact, we’ve found fossils of Microraptors that contained their last meals of birds, fish and lizards as well. But now we can add mammals to the list with the mammal foot. It further confirms what we already knew about the Microraptor. Well, expands on it, anyway. With such a varied diet of animal proteins, the Microraptor was anything but specialized. In other words, it ate anything that moved in its environments. In contrast, Pandas are highly specialized, with their diet of bamboo and almost nothing else. But the mammal foot in a Microsaur fossil discovery is more than a footnote in new dinosaur lore.
SCIENTISTS FIRST DISCOVERED THIS FOSSIL IN 2000, AND ONLY NOW DISCOVERED MAMMAL’S FOOT INSIDE
Microraptor fossils have been found across what is now northeast China, in a fossil-rich region called the Jehol Biota. Finds there have been a great resource in understanding dinosaur anatomy, and getting solid details about ancient animals’ ecological niches. As for the Microraptor, we think they lived in trees, gliding around Cretaceous forests looking for almost any meal sitting on a tree branch. The fossil with the mammal foot was first found in 2000, and was the first Microraptor fossil ever found. Scientists recently revisited the fossil and made the new discovery of the mammal foot.
The mammal foot belonged to a small animal about the size of a mouse. All ancient mammals looked something like a possum or rodent.