Rare find: Feathered dinosaur feasts on flying food

August 29, 2012

(Edmonton) University of Alberta researchers found evidence that a feathered, but flightless dinosaur was able to snag and consume small flying dinosaurs.

The U of A paleontology team found the fossilized remains of three flying dinosaurs in the belly of a raptor-like predator called Sinocalliopteryx. Sinocalliopteryx was about two meters in length and roughly the size of a modern-day wolf.

Sinocalliopteryx's flying meals were three Confuciusornis. Confuciusornis was one of the earliest birds and had a crude version of a modern bird's skeleton and muscles. The researchers say such primitive birds were probably limited to slow take-offs and short flights.

According to the researchers, this is the first time a predator has been linked to the killing of multiple flying dinosaurs.

Scott Persons, a U of A paleontology student and research coauthor, says Sinocalliopteryx may have used stealth to stock the flyers. "Sinocalliopteryx didn't have wings or the physical tools needed to be an adept tree climber," said Persons.

Persons explains Sinocalliopteryx had feathers or hair-like fuzz covering its body creating a level of insulation that helped maintain a warm body temperature and high metabolism that required a lot of food to fuel.

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

This find was made in China's Liaoning province, and U of A researchers analyzed stomach contents of a second Sinocalliopteryx fossil discovery from that area. The researchers identified this Sinocalliopteryx's last meal as a Sinornithosaurus, a small feathered meat-eater about the size of a house cat that may have been able to fly or glide 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.
-end-
The research was led by U of A Master's paleontology student Lida Xing. The U of A coauthors includes Tetsuto Miyashita, Michael Burns and Phil Currie. The research was published Aug. 29 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Artwork is attached. Artwork credit: Cheung Chungtat

University of Alberta

Related Active Hunter Articles from Brightsurf:

Malnutrition among a hunter-gatherer group
The diets of hunter-gatherers are changing at a fast pace, as in the contemporary world, they are increasingly being deprived of their access to land and natural resources and urged to adapt to sedentary lifestyle.

NASA's planet Hunter completes its primary mission
NASA's TESS has completed its primary mission, imaging about 75% of the starry sky during a two-year-long survey.

Differences between discs of active and non-active galaxies detected for the first time
A study led by researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), making comparison between the discs of several pairs of spiral galaxies, active and non-active, concludes that in the discs of the former the rotational motion of the stars is of greater importance.

Heightened interaction between neolithic migrants and hunter-gatherers in Western Europe
This study reports new genome-wide data for 101 prehistoric individuals from 12 archaeological sites in today's France and Germany, dating from 7000-3000 BCE, and documents levels of admixture between expanding early Neolithic farmers and local hunter-gatherers seen nowhere else in Europe.

Chemical evidence of dairying by hunter-gatherers in Lesotho in the first millennium AD
After analyzing organic residues from ancient pots, a team of scientists led by the University of Bristol has uncovered new evidence of dairying by hunter-gatherers in the landlocked South African country of Lesotho in the mid-late first millennium AD.

Study sheds light on unique culinary traditions of prehistoric hunter-gatherers
A new study suggests the culinary tastes of ancient people were not solely dictated by the foods available in a particular area, but also influenced by the traditions and habits of cultural groups.

Hunter-gatherer networks accelerated human evolution
Humans began developing a complex culture as early as the Stone Age.

Hunter-gatherers facilitated a cultural revolution through small social networks
Hunter-gatherer ancestors, from around 300,000 years ago, facilitated a cultural revolution by developing ideas in small social networks, and regularly drawing on knowledge from neighbouring camps, suggests a new study by UCL and University of Zurich.

Active droplets
Using a mixture of oil droplets and hydrogel, medical active agents can be not only precisely dosed, but also continuously administered over periods of up to several days.

Early hunter-gatherers interacted much sooner than previously believed
A nearly 4,000-year-old burial site found off the coast of Georgia hints at ties between hunter-gatherers on opposite sides of North America, according to research led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Read More: Active Hunter News and Active Hunter Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.