Perhaps the fear is fueled by the fictional characters in the 1993 film Jurassic Park, but scientists believe the first known incident of a mammoth being eaten by a dinosaur.
However, the fossils 120 years ago are not of a human ancestor, but under the foot of an animal inside the rib of a small finned dinosaur known as a microraptor.
The paleontologists said their findings, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, “are the first evidence of dinosaurs eating mammals.”
Dr David Hone from Queen Mary University of London, who is the lead author on the study, said: ‘It is so rare to find examples of food among dinosaurs that any sample is really important as it provides direct evidence of what they ate.
“While this mammal may not have been a human ancestor at all, we can look back at some of its ancient relatives eating hungry dinosaurs.
“This study paints a fascinating picture of a moment in time – the first record of dinosaurs eating mammals – but not quite as terrifying as what happened in Jurassic Park.”
Microraptors lived in the ancient forests of what is now China, somewhere between 125m and 113m years ago.
While it was carried on two legs, experts believe that some species could have been capable of flight.
They were about the size of crows, or small cats, and they went from tree to tree to prey on small animals.
The specimen was first described more than 20 years ago in 2000, but researchers said the previous team had not seen the remains of another animal inside the dinosaur.
The analysis suggests that the prey was a mammal about the size of a mouse, which lived on land, and did not perform well.
Previous research has shown other microraptor fossils with preserved non-mammal food in their stomachs, such as birds, lizards or fish.
#Physicists #mammals #discovered #dinosaurs