Velociraptor discovered eating Protoceratops

From the BBC today:

Fossil find shows Velociraptor eating another dinosaur

By Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

A predatory Velociraptor has been caught in the act of eating another larger plant-eating dinosaur.

Palaeontologists have uncovered fossil fragments of Velociraptor teeth alongside scarred bones of the large horned herbivore Protoceratops.

The teeth of the predator match marks on the herbivore‘s bones, suggesting Velociraptor scavenged its carcass.

The discovery is further evidence that predatory dinosaurs both hunted and scavenged their plant-eating relatives.

The find also helps validate another famous fossil discovery unearthed in 1971.

Known as the “fighting dinosaurs“, that fossil shows a Velociraptor and Protoceratops apparently locked in combat, with both dinosaurs having died at the same time.

Evidence of feeding by theropod dinosaurs, such as Velociraptor or Tyrannosaurus rex, are scarce in the fossil record and the fighting dinosaurs is the most dramatic example known potentially illustrating such behaviour.

Palaeontologists continue to debate the fossil and many still consider it possible that the two animals killed each other – the Velociraptor’s raptor-like claw is preserved lodged in the throat region of the much larger Protoceratops, which appears at the same time to be biting down on the predatory dinosaur’s right arm.

However, it is also possible that Velociraptor did not regularly eat Protoceratops.

Instead, the fighting dinosaurs could represent a chance encounter between the two species that escalated into a fight.

However, the new fossil discovery, published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, suggests that is less likely.

It provides further evidence that Velociraptor did regularly eat Protoceratops, either by scavenging those that had already died or by actively hunting them.

Dr David Hone of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing made the new discovery in Upper Cretaceous deposits at Bayan Mandahu, in Inner Mongolia, China.

“This looks like scavenging as the animal would be feeding on the haunches and guts first, not the cheeks”
Fossil co-discoverer Dr David Hone

ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2010) — Researchers at McGill University are unlocking the mysteries of the little-known habits of dinosaurs in discovering that the entire western interior of North America was likely once populated by a single community of dinosaurs. According to a statistical analysis of the fossil record, dinosaurs were adept at coping with all sorts of environments, and not as restricted in their geographic ranges as previously thought: here.

This isn’t your daddy’s Tyrannosaurus Rex. The king of the dinosaurs evolved from ancestors that spent most of their evolutionary history skulking in the shadows of other giant predators, and may have even sported hair-like feathers: here.

8 thoughts on “Velociraptor discovered eating Protoceratops

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