Did you know ? Pterosaurs vomited up indigestible food in large pellets

Having lived in the Jurassic era, pterosaurs are a species over which many mysteries hover until now. Studies of two fossilized specimens have provided scientists with crucial information about pterosaur diet. They rejected in the form of pellets the preys which they did not manage to digest correctly.

The researchers conducted their experiments on two specimens of Kunpengopterus sinens, who lived in the region of Yanliao Biota in northern China between 199 million and 146 million years ago. The researchers analyzed fossilized scales collected near the winged reptiles.

Beyond the discoveries on the diet of this species, the work of scientists has also made it possible to understand pterosaur anatomy.

Never-before-seen details on pterosaur diet and anatomy

Until the publication of the scientific report in the journal Royal Society, there was only rare and fine information on how this species fed and on its gastric system. The researchers revealed that at Like owls, she regurgitated indigestible animal remains.

In addition, during their work, they discovered that pterosaurs directly swallowed their prey without maceration. This would probably be due to the feverishness of their teeth. Moreover, the scales present indicated that these reptiles essentially gorged themselves on Pisces.

The large size of the scales suggests that they did not consume small fish that washed up on shore. The team of scientists could not specify the type of fish that made up the pterosaurs’ menu.

“Most pterosaurs cannot chew their food because their teeth lack the structure to chew. Additionally, nearly complete fish have been found in the stomachs of pterosaurs, and it is evident that the fish were not chewed. »

Jiang Shunxing, author of the study from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing

Much remains to be discovered about the Jurassic period

In addition, this study made it possible to understand that the stomach pterosaurs consisted of two parts. The first secreted a acid to liquefy the prey and a second that compressed the indigestible pieces into balls.

The Jurassic era has not yet finished revealing all its secrets. New discoveries of fossils of species that disappeared millions of years ago are to be hoped for.


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