FEATHERED, FLIGHTLESS #DINOSAUR ATE FLYING DINOSAURS

There are no public domain or royalty free images of the dinosaur.  To see an artist’s rendition of it with its prey, go to  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2195619/Wolf-like-dinosaur-hunted-baby-birds-fly-away.html

In China’s Liaoning province, a University of Alberta paleontology team found the fossil remains of a raptor-like dinosaur and the fossilized remains of three small flying dinosaurs in its belly.  The find represents the first time a predator was linked to the deaths of multiple flying dinosaurs.

The raptor-like dinosaur is a Sinocalliopteryx, translated as “Chinese beautiful feather.”  It was just under six feet in length and about the size of contemporary wolves.

Scott Persons, research coauthor and a paleontology student at the University of Alberta, said though the predatory dinosaur lacked wings, it had feathers or hair-like fuzz covering its body.  The covering provided a level of insulation that maintained a warm body temperature and a high metabolism, requiring a considerable amount of food to fuel its body and considerable time hunting prey.

Persons said, “The fact that this Sinocalliopteryx had, not one, but three undigested birds in its stomach indicate(s) it was a voracious eater and a very active hunter.”

The prey of this particular active hunter was three Confuciusornis, one of the first primitive birds with only a crude bird’s skeleton and muscles.  The crow-sized birds were limited to slow take-offs and short flights.

Lacking wings and the ability to climb trees, Sinocalliopteryx probably stalked the smaller dinosaurs.

The research team found another first inside another Sinocalliopteryx:  a Sinornithosaurus, a house cat-sized, feathered, meat eater that may have been able to fly short distances.

Sinornithosaurus is a relative of Velociraptor, which means this is the first direct evidence of a raptor becoming another predatory dinosaur’s meal,” said Persons.

Source:   ScienceDaily, August 29, 2012      Wikipedia     Study published in PLuS ONE, August 29, 2012

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