Science

Unknown species of lizard discovered inside a gliding dinosaur’s abdomen


The dinosaur and its stomach contents A brand new lizard species within the stomach of a Microraptor

Jingmai O’Connor

A close to full fossil of a lizard has been discovered contained in the abdomen of a microraptor, a form of feathered dinosaur that lived round 100 million years in the past.

The lizard will need to have been swallowed complete shortly earlier than the microraptor died and was fossilised. It was swallowed head first, in the identical manner that many residing birds and reptiles swallow prey.

The lizard seems to be a brand new species and has been named Indrasaurus wangi by Jingmai O’Connor on the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing and her colleagues. The identify refers to a Vedic legend through which the god Indra was swallowed by a dragon throughout an ideal battle.

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Microraptors, first found 20 years in the past, seemed very bird-like other than their tooth however had feathers on their legs in addition to their arms, and had been able to gliding and perhaps even powered flight, says O’Connor. “That is an impartial origin of flight separate from birds,” she says. “It flew with 4 wings.”

Many researchers suppose they had been tree climbers, however O’Connor disagrees. “I feel microraptor was not a tree climber however reasonably lived on the bottom however that’s controversial,” she says. “The Jehol the place they lived was a forested lake setting.”

That is the fourth microraptor fossil discovered with identifiable abdomen contents, so we all know they ate up mammals, birds, fish in addition to lizards. Different research have proven that at the very least a few of these animals had black feathers.

The microraptor and lizard are the most recent of a treasure trove of fossils to emerge from northeastern China. Right here a sequence of volcanic eruptions between 130 and 120 million killed many animals. Some had been entombed in ash on the backside of lakes and exquisitely preserved.

Different fossil treasures from the area embody fossilised stick bugs whose fragile wings are nonetheless clearly seen.

Journal reference: Present Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.020

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