Dinosaur stomach contents help scientists determine their last meal and time of death

As for dinosaurs, we can only learn about dinosaurs from their dusty ancient bones, according tomedia. But now, palaeontologists have made some interesting new discoveries by studying the stomach contents of a very well-preserved nodule dragon. In this way, researchers can tell not only what the last meal of a dinosaur’s life was, but also how they foraged and even when they died in the course of a year.

Dinosaur stomach contents help scientists determine their last meal and time of death

The findings come from one of the most remarkable dinosaur fossils ever found. The 110 million-year-old specimen is a new species called Borealopelta markmitchelli, which is a species of ameta. It was discovered in 2011 in a mine in Alberta, Canada, and is well preserved, still containing skin, scales and stomach contents.

研究报告的作者之一 Jim Basinger指出:“从恐龙胃里找到的真正保存下来的东西是非常罕见的,这个胃是由博物馆团队从恐龙的结节龙木乃伊中找到的,是迄今为止发现的保存最好的恐龙胃。”

Dinosaur stomach contents help scientists determine their last meal and time of death

The researchers looked closely inside the football-sized object to see what it ate. Unsurprisingly, The last meal of Borealopelta markmitchelli was for plants — especially ferns. About 88% of these substances are chewed fern leaves, and another 7% are stems and branches.

Studies of ferns showed that the dinosaur was a relatively predatory animal, considering the species known at the time. Nevertheless, the team found traces of other plants in its stomach, including moss or moss, stone pines, conifer trees and pollen and spores from flowering plants.

In addition, they found stones in the dinosaur’s digestive system, which appeared to be “gastric stones”, often swallowed by dinosaurs and modern birds to help digest food. But the most fascinating thing is the observation of the animal’s surroundings when an animal dies, with the help of stomach contents.

David Greenwood, one of the study’s authors, said there was a large amount of charred plant debris in the stomach, suggesting the animal was foraging at a recently burned-out place.

In fact, stomach contents can even accurately determine the time of death of an animal.

Caleb Brown, one of the study’s authors, said: “We also know that, based on well-preserved plant fragments and the animals themselves, the deaths and burials of animals must have occurred shortly after the last meal. Plants give us a better understanding of the season than animals, and they show that the last meal, animal death and burial, takes place between late spring and midsummer. “

Borealopelta markmitchelli will no doubt continue to be closely studied. The fossil is currently on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada.

Dinosaur stomach contents help scientists determine their last meal and time of death