A sauropod rib with an embedded theropod tooth: direct evidence for feeding behaviour in the Jehol group, China

Authors

  • LIDA XING,

  • PHIL R. BELL,

  • PHILIP J. CURRIE,

  • MASATERU SHIBATA,

  • KUOWEI TSENG,

  • ZHIMING DONG


Lida Xing [xinglida@gmail.com] and Philip J. Currie [philip.currie@ualberta.ca], Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, 11145 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9, Canada; Phil R. Bell [pbell@countygp.ab.ca], Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative, 10001-84 Ave, Clairmont, Alberta T0H 0W0, Canada; Masateru Shibata [m-shibata@dinosaur.pref.fukui.jp], Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, 51-11 Terao, Muroko, Katsuyama, Fukui 911-8601, Japan; Kuowei Tseng [fossil0405@yahoo.com.tw], Department of Physical Education and Health, Taipei Physical Education College, Taipei, Taiwan; Zhiming Dong [lfdinodong@sina.com], Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100044, China; manuscript received on 09/10/2011; manuscript accepted on 09/02/2012.

Abstract

Xing, L, Bell, P.R., Currie, P.J., Shibata, M., Tseng, K. & Dong, Z. 2012: A sauropod rib with an embedded theropod tooth: direct evidence for feeding behaviour in the Jehol group, China. Lethaia, Vol. 45, pp. 500–506.

A fragmentary rib from the Lower Cretaceous (Barremian) Yixian Formation in northeastern China preserves rare, direct evidence of feeding behaviour by an unidentified theropod. The rib, which comes from the holotype of Dongbetitan, preserves an embedded, broken theropod tooth. Comparison of the tooth with all known theropods from the Yixian Formation suggests that it belongs to a new taxon of medium-sized theropod. Given the large size difference between the sauropod and the theropod and the absence of reactive bone growth around the tooth, the bite likely occurred post-mortem during scavenging. Recognition of a new, medium-sized theropod increases the known diversity of taxa from the Yixian Formation and helps fill a gap in the theropod palaeoecology of that formation, which previously consisted of only small (<2 m) forms. □China, Cretaceous, feeding behaviour, theropod, titanosauriformes, sauropod.

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