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Re: Early mammals ate dinosaurs

Eric Allen wrote:

though you still have the problem of being able to
definitavely match the lucky survivor's wounds to a
particular culprit.

Agreed. Tooth marks might help identify the predator, for example. If the tooth (or part of the tooth) was left behind that would help even more to pin down the culprit.

The fossilized tableau showing a _Velociraptor_ locked in combat with a _Protoceratops_ also appears to be compelling proof of predation by the former on the latter. However, some people (not me) are not 100% convinced, and suggest that _Protoceratops_ might have been the aggressor (e.g., protecting its territory) or that the _Velociraptor_ was scavenging on a _Protoceratops_ carcass (Osmolska, 1993; Revue de Paleobiologie 7:161-162). I think Carpenter and others are correct in interpreting the _Velociraptor_ as the aggressor, and that the two died more-or-less simultaneously.


Carpenter, K. (2001). Evidence of predatory behavior by carnivorous dinosaurs. Gaia 15: 135-144.

Unwin, D.M., Perle, A. and Trueman, C. (1995). _Protoceratops_ and _Velociraptor preserved in association: evidence for predatory behavior in dromaeosaurid dinosaurs? J. Vert. Paleont. 15 (suppl. to 3): 57A.