(PhysOrg.com) -- When people think of dinosaurs, their thoughts generally turn to the giant guys munching plants, or the ferocious beasts preying on smaller animals. In recent years however, evidence has come to support the notion that modern birds are actually dinosaurs that have survived to live in the present. Now comes evidence that an ancient bird-like dinosaur, a type of raptor, dined on other more modern-like birds. Jingmai O'Connor, Zhonghe Zhou, and Xing Xu, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, write in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that a dinosaur fossil they’ve found, called a Microraptor gui, which lived in a period known as the Early Cretaceous Jehol biota, in China, has a partial skeleton of a small bird preserved in its abdomen.
The find has two major storylines. The first is that it’s the first time that a dinosaur has been proven to eat birds. Prior evidence indicated that some dinosaurs likely fed on birds, but till now, no such direct evidence had been found.
The other storyline is the credence that the find gives to the idea that flight evolved as a means for animals to exist in trees rather than as a way for ground based animals to take to the air to hover over other animals whether to find food or as a way to avoid being eaten. The bird found inside the Microraptor was a type of enantiornithines, a group of very small birds that had legs and feet that very clearly identify them as tree dwellers, which meant that in order for the Microraptor to catch and eat it, it must have also spent a lot of time in the trees.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Bird eating dinosaur found
has been found.