About 95 million years ago in what is now Australia, a massive crocodile relative clamped down with its powerful jaws on the small body of a Dinosaur and gulped nearly all of it down in one mighty swallow. The crocodilian died soon after, and as it fossilized, so did the partly-digested and near-complete in its belly.
The wee Dinosaur was a young ornithopod a mostly bipedal herbivore group that includes duck-billed. These are the first bones of an ornithopod to be found in this part of the continent, and the animal may be a previously unknown species. Scientists recently discovered the remains of the ancient croc predator — and its well-preserved last meal in the Great Australian Super Basin, at a site dating to the Cretaceous period.
Tooth marks on fossilized Dinosaur bones hint that some crocodilians dined on, either hunting them or scavenging their remains. But paleontologists rarely find preserved gut contents in crocodilians, perhaps because their guts contained powerfully corrosive acids, as do those of modern crocodiles. This new find provides the first definitive evidence showing that Dinosaur were eaten by giant Cretaceous crocs, the scientists reported Feb. 10 in the journal Gondwana Research.