A team of paleontologists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology has come together to find a new specimen of Microraptor zhaoianus. It has the remains of a complete lizard in its stomach. All the findings were published in Current Biology.
Why is this lizard so unique?
The lizard is quite different than what we have known so far, from the Cretaceous. It represents a new species, called Indrasaurus Wangi. The lizard was named after Prof. Wang Yuan from IVPP. He is also the director of the Paleozoological Museum of China.
There’s a legend behind it
The name Indrasaurus came from a Vedic legend. In this legend, the god Indra was swallowed by a dragon while there was a great battle happening. The dragon was referred to as Microraptor.
A former student of Prof, Wang, Dr. Dong Liping, ran an analysis on the Cretaceous lizards. He showed that the Cretaceous species were firmly related to each other, then they were to the modern lineage.
How is the lizard different than what we have seen so far?
This new lizard has teeth unlike to what we saw so far from the Jehol Biota. This is why it expands the diversity of the species, and it also suggests a new diet for the new species.
What did the Microraptor eat?
This is the fourth time a Microraptor has made its appearance in persevering stomach contents. It is known to have eaten birds, mammals, lizards, and fish.
This lizard is complete and articulated, and it shows that it was swallowed as a whole, head first. This means that the Microraptor used to eat as many similar predatory birds and lizards that are still alive right now.
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