When we think of our distant ancestors, who existed around the time of the dinosaurs, we often think of little rats hiding in holes so they wouldn’t end up as a snack for a huge lizard. However, some furry critters chose to fight back against their dinosaur overlords, as seen in a new fossil.
Excavated in northeastern China, it shows a small, badger-like mammal choking on a herbivorous dinosaur and tearing into its victims’ ribs. According to scientists, this event took place about 125 million years ago.
In Scientific Reports, paleobiologist Jordan Mallon of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa said: “Dinosaurs almost always outcompeted their mammalian contemporaries, so traditional belief is that their interactions were one-sided – the larger dinosaurs always ate the smaller mammals. Here we have good evidence for a smaller mammal hunting a larger dinosaur, which we would not have guessed without this fossil. “
Scientists believe this was not a clearance, because the mammal was on top of the dinosaur’s back, meaning it was trying to subdue the reptile. Also, there are no bite marks on the dinosaur’s bone, which should be there if scavenging had occurred.
Our culprit is the Repenomamus, one of the largest mammals of the dinosaur age. It had short and outstretched limbs, a long tail, a sinuous body, a robust skull and shearing teeth. “What is unique about our fossil is the fact that it shows that Repenomamus was able to tackle larger dinosaur prey,” Said Mallon.