When you hear that a crocodile devours a dinosaur, you might think that it’s just some bad script of a movie or something that can happen only in a parallel universe where there are totally different laws of nature. But that’s precisely what happened to a small and young ornithopod dinosaur long ago in the Cretaceous period when it became the preferred menu of a massive crocodile, according to LiveScience.com.
The little dinosaur was also an herbivore, and a fossil of the crocodile was found while it was having a full stomach. The chowing down event occurred in a region of the planet that’s the territory of Australia in the present.
A 2.5-meter long crocodile
The crocodile in question was measuring over 2.5 meters long when it died shortly after devouring its meal. This is not surprising, considering that crocodiles nowadays can even reach two times that length.
Matt White, the lead study author, stated as LiveScience.com quotes:
It is likely dinosaurs constituted an important resource in the Cretaceous ecological food web,
Given the lack of comparable global specimens, this prehistoric crocodile and its last meal will continue to provide clues to the relationships and behaviours of animals that inhabited Australia millions of years ago.
Ornithopods can also be considered members of the clade known as Ornithopoda. These are a group of dinosaurs that started as small and bipedal running grazers. Later on, they grew enough to become one of the most dominant herbivores from the Cretaceous period, which lasted between 145 to 66 million years ago. It was the last period until the Chicxulub impactor led to the extinction of the dinosaurs after hitting the region that now belongs to the Yucatan Peninsula from Mexico. It left behind a huge crater that measures roughly 90 miles wide and about 12 miles deep.