Triassic Bites and a Carnivore Conundrum

National Geographic featured an in-depth story on the research of Stephanie Drumheller, an earth and planetary sciences lecturer. She and her Virginia Tech colleagues examined 220-million-NationalGeographicyear-old bite marks in the thigh bones of an old reptile and found evidence that two predators at the top of their respective food chains interacted—with the smaller potentially having eaten the larger animal. The evidence was a tooth. “The bones show a connection between the terrestrial and aquatic realms. It wasn’t as if the paracrocs ruled the land and the phytosaurs kept to themselves in the water. Fresh meat was exchanged across the boundary of the terrestrial and aquatic realms, with phytosaurs perhaps being both predators and part of the carcass clean-up crew. In short, the Late Triassic was a carnivore-eat-carnivore world,” read the article.