A rendering of Microraptor zhaoianus. Credit: Ralph Attanasia III
New research study on the maintained gut contents of Microraptor reveals a more diverse diet plan than previously believed.
A global team of scientists found an unusual piece of evidence suggesting that dinosaurs taken in mammals.
A current research study in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology details the discovery of a mouse-sized mammal foot inside the gut contents of a Microraptor zhaoianus, a small feathered dinosaur from the early Cretaceous period. This is a special and uncommon find, as there is just one previous report of a dinosaur with mammalian gut contents, and its not closely related to Microraptor.
Its exceptionally uncommon to discover conclusive proof of a dinosaurs diet due to the fact that of how challenging it is for a dinosaurs gut contents to be maintained, says Corwin Sullivan, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and co-author of the paper.
Mammal foot in a dinosaur. Credit: Alex Dececci
” There was always interest in [Microraptors] diet plan due to the fact that there had been previous specimens that consisted of remains of different vertebrates inside the rib cage, however we have the very first one which contains parts of a mammal,” he notes.
The Microraptor was discovered within Cretaceous and jurassic lake deposits in what is now northeast China.
Previous Microraptor specimens from this location have actually been found with gut contents of a lizard, fish, and bird , suggesting that these small dinosaurs had varied diet plans. It remains uncertain whether Microraptor took in the contents in a predator-prey relationship or by scavenging. Researchers can only state conclusively that Microraptor was meat-eating.
Sullivan states information about dinosaurs diets is a crucial piece in the puzzle foring more information about what was going on at the time they wandered the Earth.
” Were gradually gathering pieces of info about these past communities and the animals that populated them. So what this discovery does is fill in a bit of info in that its revealing the diet of Microraptor was even wider, a lot more generalist, than we believed previously.”
” That informs us something about this animal and, by extension, informs us that there were generalist predators in these ancient ecosystems– that niche existed.”
Reference: “Generalist diet plan of Microraptor zhaoianus consisted of mammals” by David W. E. Hone, T. Alexander Dececchi, Corwin Sullivan, Xu Xing and Hans C. E. Larsson, 20 December 2022, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.DOI: 10.1080/ 02724634.2022.2144337.