A group of scientists has unearthed fossil of two types of predators, one living in aquatic habitat while another living on land, which suggests that both the Triassic predators may have fought with each other due to a reason best known to them.
About 210 million years ago, the top two predators, the Phytosaur (a large crocodilian dinosaur dominating the aquatic food chain) and the Rauisuchids (their land-based counterparts) may well have fought each other. But the scientists are clueless about why the two dinosaur species living in entirely different habitats would have had reason to come into any conflict.
The researchers at the University of Tennessee and the Virginia Tech said the fossil evidence suggested that the dominating phytosaur may well have hunted land creatures as well as ocean life.
Detailing about the fossils, the researchers said that they had recently found a phytosaur tooth which was embedded two inches inside the thigh bone of a rauisuchid. According to the researchers, the fossil showed the wound on the rauisuchid’s thigh had healed, suggesting the dinosaur had survived the attack. The rauisuchid’s thigh bone also had several kinds of bite marks suggesting that the attack was not an isolated phenomenon.
Researcher Stephanie Drumheller from the University of Tennessee said that the fossil evidence provides close insight to the type of relationship the two species may have had shared.
“Finding teeth embedded directly in fossil bone is very, very rare. This is for the first time any fossil has suggested about such violent behavior among phytosaurs,” Drumheller said.
The fossilized bone was discovered at the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley.
The study was detailed in the journal Naturwissenschaften.