October 15, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Monster swallows monster: Fossil reveals doubly deadly Triassic experience

Reuters

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Inside of its tummy was the torso of a 12-foot-extensive (4 meters) Xinpusaurus, a type of maritime reptile identified as an a thalattosaur. Its body design and style resembled a komodo dragon with four paddling limbs and teeth equipped for crushing shells. The Xinpusaurus was beheaded in the melee and its tail severed.

The tummy contents of a Guizhouichthyosaurus, a large Triassic Time period maritime reptile termed an ichthyosaur that lived about 240 million many years ago, symbolizing the to start with direct evidence of ancient “megapredation” — one particular big animal taking in a different, in an illustration produced August 20, 2020. Da-Yong Jiang, et al, iScience/Handout via REUTERS

“Nobody was there to film it,” but it is attainable to interpret what may well have transpired concerning the two animals, explained paleobiologist and research co-creator Ryosuke Motani of the University of California, Davis.

The Guizhouichthyosaurus actually may possibly have bitten off more than it could chew.

“The prey is lighter than the predator but its resistance have to have been fierce,” Motani said. “The predator likely ruined its neck to some extent even though subduing the prey. Then it took the head and tail of the prey off by means of jerking and twisting, and swallowed the trunk employing inertia and gravity.”

Motani included, “These functions may well have expanded the damage of the neck to the stage it was fatal. The neck vertebral columns of these ichthyosaurs are quite slender and after they could not hold the skull in place anymore, the predator could not breathe. Soon, it died not much from the site of the predation, where by the detached tail of the prey lay.”

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The fossil bore proof of this broken neck. The prey in the tummy showed very little signs of digestion, indicating the ichthyosaur died before long following swallowing it.

Its teeth glimpse like they are excellent for greedy squids. So, it was a shock to obtain these kinds of massive prey

It is among the the more remarkable fossils on report, becoming a member of others this sort of as one particular demonstrating the Cretaceous Time period dinosaurs Velociraptor and Protoceratops locked in battle and a further of the huge Cretaceous fish Xiphactinus that had swallowed entire a further sizeable fish.