Scientists have discovered a partial skeleton of an ancient frog in the remains of a bird-like dinosaur that lived about 120 million years ago in what is now China.
Scientists, including researchers from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, say the dinosaur named Daurlong Wangi was a medium-sized type of dinosaur, the dromaeosaurus, a group of carnivorous bird-like dinosaurs.
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Scientists say this species mainly feeds on fish and other mammals and dinosaurs.
The dinosaur lived during the early Cretaceous period, approximately 145 to 100 million years ago, and this creature was part of the “Jehol Biota,” an ecosystem describing land, fresh water, and Cretaceous organisms in what is today the northeast. China, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
In dinosaur remains, scientists have also found a “large bluish layer” on the abdomen, one of the few cases where gut remains appear in these dinosaurs.
“Dromeosaurids are a group of small to medium-sized theropod dinosaurs known from the Cretaceous period in both hemispheres,” said Zuri Wang of the Institute of Geology of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences.
“The Early Cretaceous Jehul biota from northeast China provided a rich diversity of Dromiosauridae, most of which are Microraptorinae,” Dr. Wang added.
In the study, scientists described dinosaur species based on a near-complete skeleton found at Pigeon Hill in the Longjiang Formation in Inner Mongolia.
“The general style of the Daurlong wangi is an almost complete articulated skeleton about 1.5 meters long,” they said.
The scientists also found a partial skeleton of an ancient frog in its intestines, marking the first time that an intestine has been preserved from a dinosaur closely related to birds.
They said: “Reconstructions of the digestive system in extinct species, including dinosaurs, can be indirectly inferred from remains of gut contents.”
The scientists added: “The Daurlong wangi specimen demonstrates the first case of gut preservation in a theropod lineage very close to bird ancestors.”