A fossil discovered in China suggests that mammals may have hunted down dinosaurs several times their size for dinner.
The fossil, first stumbled upon by a farmer in 2012, was uncovered at a site known as “China’s Pompeii” in the country’s northeast.
Scientific Reports, the journal that published the study, said the fossil showed two creatures — a mammal and a dinosaur — from around 125 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period.
Researcher Jordan Mallon thought the mammal, though much smaller, was fiercely attacking the dinosaur when a volcanic eruption took place and buried them.
He said the mammal in the combat is the meateating Repenomamus robustus, which is about the size of a house cat. The dinosaur, called Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis, was about as big as a medium-sized dog.
The new find suggests mammals may have preyed on dinosaurs much larger than their size, instead of just scavenging ones that were already dead. The study’s authors acknowledge fossil forgeries have previously occurred in China, but they are confident this one is genuine.