If you’ve ever wondered what dinosaurs were eating right before they went extinct you’re in luck. A group of palaeontologists just discovered the remains of a large flying reptile in the gut of a Velociraptor.
While Velociraptors have long been thought to be “hyper predators” scientists suggest that this particular pterosaur was too large to be the raptor’s intended prey and was likely scavenged.
Findings are published by an international team of scientists in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology.
The raptor died approximately 75 million years ago in the Gobi desert, Mongolia and according to Dr. David Hone from the University College Dublin, Ireland:
“It would be difficult and probably even dangerous for the small theropod dinosaur to target a pterosaur with a wingspan of 2 metres or more, unless the pterosaur was already ill or injured … So the pterosaur bone we’ve identified in the gut of the Velociraptor was most likely scavenged from a carcass rather than the result of a predatory kill.”
This particular pterosaur was dining on a 75mm-long bone shard that became lodged in its rib cage where the gut use to be.
Aside from proving that velociraptors likely scavenged for food scientists also now realize that they were capable of eating relatively large bones for being such small animals.
Because the bone was not consumed by stomach acid it suggests that the raptor died shortly after eating.
Are you surprised to learn that the velociraptor with all of its tenacity would scavenge for food when not fighting for it?