One hundred million years old, lizards eat leprosy

On November 19, a team of Chinese and foreign scientists announced in Beijing that they had found a rare stomach volume specimen for the first time in Jianchang County, Liaoning Province, which is of great significance to people’s understanding of the feeding habits of small and medium-sized reptiles in the Cretaceous. The research is led by Xing Lida, associate professor of China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Niu Kecheng, executive director of Yingliang stone natural history museum, Susan E. Evans, Professor of University College London, UK and other scholars. The research paper was published in the Cretaceous study by Elsevier publishing group.
Gastric volume is a very rare and important fossil record, which is the direct evidence for people to understand the food habits of paleontology. The specimen of this study was found in the lower Cretaceous Jiufotang formation of Lamadong area, Jianchang County, Liaoning Province, China. It is an interesting sagittal dragon specimen with undigested stomach contents of crustaceans. It is currently collected in the newly opened Yingliang stone natural history museum.
Yabulong comes from the world-famous Rehe biota and the first lizard named for this biota. It is widely distributed in the strata of Yixian Formation and Jiufotang formation of the lower Cretaceous. Sagittal dragons are often found in association with wolf fin fish, Manchurian tortoises and a variety of insect fossils. The fossil was first discovered and named by Japanese scholars. The model specimen was lost during the Anti Japanese war. It contains three species: strong sagittal dragon, Yang’s sagittal dragon and bicuspid sagittal dragon. According to the analysis of body length and bone morphology, the new specimen should be classified as a juvenile strong sagittal dragon, with a nose hip length of 22 cm.
In the past, sagittal dinosaurs have recorded stomach contents containing fish remains, while large crustaceans have been found for the first time. When the specimen was collected by Yingliang stone natural history museum, it was in the state of mask not being cleaned. The stomach contents were gradually exposed under the exquisite cleaning and repairing skills of the technicians in the fossil mineral crystal cleaning and restoring laboratory under the museum. This large crustacean has preserved a pincerfoot covered with small particles, a long and thin fragment of steropod, an oral organ and a broken antennae, all of which are consistent with the features of sanguis.
The crayfish we often eat is called crayfish, which originated in the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana, so it is also called “Louisiana crayfish”. Later, it was introduced into China, and its edible value made the popular “pockmarks”. A large number of freshwater crayfish fossils have been found in the Jehol biota of China. About 130 million to 120 million years ago, Shen Yanbin, a researcher from Nanjing Institute of paleontology, studied these specimens, and speculated that crayfish originated in East Asia and then spread to Central Asia, Europe and North America.
Xing Lida said that the length and proportion of the pieces of crayfish found this time told us that the ancient Squilla that was preyed on was about 12 to 13 cm, which was a very rich meal for this sagittal dragon. Interestingly, there is no crustacean fragment in the stomach cavity of sagittal dragon, so this little lizard probably preyed on the molting Squilla on the river bank. “Based on all the gastric volume records, although sagittal dragons lack obvious morphological features of swimming, we still believe that sagittal dragons have the habit of riverbank predation.”