The University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech have added more insight into the relationships of semi-aquatic and land based dinosaurs. Their discovery of a tooth from an aquatic dino embedded in the thigh bone of a land based dino shows not only did the two variations of giant lizards meet, but duked it out tooth and nail.
The tooth of the matter was from what they referred to as a phytosaur which was a big, creature with a long snout that looked sort of like crocodiles that roam the Earth today. At some point this dinosaur left the water or was on land drying off or basking in the sun, when it got into a fight with another big reptile referred to as a rauisuchid that is said to have been 25 feet in length and and about four feet high. The tooth that was embedded in the animal stayed lodged there and the tissue healed and grew over it thus preserving it for fossilization and the discovery we now have today.
The land/water battle took place during the Late Triassic period some 235 to 200 million years in the past. The rarity of the find has scientists surprised as one would guess. Since the rauishuchids were the big bad boys on the dinosaur block at the time one would think they could hold their own against the smaller phytosaurs. Whatever happened in those ages long past, this discover is evidence of an epic battle that surpasses anything Hollywood could come up with.
Published in the German journal Naturwissenschaften aka The Science of Nature, this discovery has scientists shaking their heads and realizing they’ll have to go back and review the earlier discoveries. This paints a whole new picture across the dino landscape for sure.
To achieve this discovery the tooth was examined using computed tomographic data and a 3D printer. They printed both copies of the tooth. Not only that but the scars left in the bone of the victim showed it had fought many a battle in its day. Adding to the discoveries pouring out of this new data, the size of the dino didn’t mean the success of the dino. Bigger may be better in some battles but evidence is growing that the smaller dinos like this phytosaur often came out on top. Probably due to speed and agility and using less energy than its larger cousins.