Rare fossil in a fossil reveals a dinosaur's surprising last meal
The discovery not only uncovers a new species of ancient lizard, it shakes up our understanding of the food web 140 million years ago.
In Hinduism’s Vedic mythos, the deity Indra does battle with a dragon that swallows Indra whole. Now, scientists have found a strikingly similar tale captured in the fossil record: a newly recognized species of lizard that met its end in the belly of a glimmering dinosaur.
Named Indrasaurus wangi as a nod to the mythical encounter, the unfortunate reptile was found within the abdomen of a feathered dinosaur known as Microraptor. The fossil of this four-winged dinosaur was itself unearthed from the 130-million-year-old Jehol biota, a treasure trove of Cretaceous-period fossils in what’s now northeastern China.
The find—described today in the journal Current Biology—is the fourth Microraptor fossil to preserve stomach contents, but it’s the first to show that