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Chinese scientists find dinosaur-eating mammal
Updated: 2005-01-14 00:15

Chinese scientists discovered a fossilized dinosaur-eating mammal in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, according to a report published Thursday.

The find of Hu Yaoming, Wang Yuanqing and Li Chuankui, all from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, and Meng Jin from the Museum of Nature in New York, was published in a paper in the British journal Nature.

The fossilized mammal, repenomamus robustus, lived in the Mesozoic era. The find revealed that some large-sized mammals living in that era may be carnivorous and brave enough to compete with dinosaurs for food and living space.

Undigested bones, including teeth and limbs, of a small dinosaur were found in its stomach, said Li, a CAS researcher. The unbroken joints meant that the mammal tore and gobbled the prey, almost without biting and chewing, Li said.

Before the latest find, he said, most scientists assume that mammals in the Mesozoic era were fairly small and nocturnal. They were supposed to eat insects and dare not to reach dinosaurs.

The new finds challenge the long-held view and proved that some primitive mammals were larger than small-sized dinosaurs. Scientists had previously believed that they ate small animals and walked around in daylight, Li said. Based on the analysis, the devoured dinosaur was one-third of the size of the mammal.

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