Microraptors, Small Flying Dinosaurs Preyed on Fish
Apr 23, 2013 10:03 AM EDT
New research from the University of Alberta finds evidence that proves Microraptor, a small flying dinosaur from the Dromaeosaur family, preyed on fishes, reports Science Daily.
Scott Persons, paleontology graduate student from the University of Alberta, says that the evidence of Microraptor's hunting skills was identified by studying the fossil remains found in China in volcanic ash, which made it easier to identify some contents of fish in its stomach, according to the report.
Previous findings have shown that the Microraptors preyed on small birds and small tree climbing mammals.The Microraptors were believed to be the size of modern day hawks.
New evidence shows that these small sized flying dinosaurs also included fish in their diet. Their teeth slightly differed from the other dinosaurs, which gave them a strong grip on slippery and wiggling preys. Most carnivorous dinosaurs had serrations on both sides of the teeth, which helped them saw through meat. But, microraptors had serrations only on one side of the teeth and were angled forwards, say the report.
"Microraptor seems adapted to impale fish on its teeth. With reduced serrations the prey wouldn't tear itself apart while it struggled," said Persons. "Microraptor could simply raise its head back, the fish would slip off the teeth and be swallowed whole, no fuss no muss."
Persons also described the wings of the Microraptors that helped them in short and controlled flight. It had "long feathers on its forearms, hind legs and tail," Persons said.