In Canada, they found an ankylosaurus mummy, in the stomach of which there was the last supper. The ancient lizard fed on fern. The results of research by paleontologists are published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
The remains of the ankylosaurus will help to form a more complete picture of the nutrition of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived 110 million years ago. In the stomach of the mummified carcass, fossilized plants mixed with coal were found. Most likely, the ankylosaurus ate a fresh fern grown on the site of a fire. A mass of food the size of a soccer ball contains several varieties of ferns and traces of charcoal. Paleontologists believe that the lizard specifically absorbed coal and often came to conflagration.
According to Caleb Brown, a paleontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, it is extremely rare to study the last meal of a dinosaur so well. “Finally, we have really good and convincing evidence that at least one dinosaur was eating,” he says.
Ankylosaurus was discovered in a mine in the northern part of Alberta in 2011. He belonged to the nodosaur family, which, in turn, were part of a large group called ankylosaurs. The entire body of the dinosaur is covered with bone plates, it had a large spine and very short legs. As Brown notes, the ankylosaurus looked like a tank. In life, he weighed about 1.5 tons and reached 18 feet in length (5.5 m). He probably lived along the coastline during the Cretaceous, and then suddenly died and was thrown into the sea. There he plunged deep into the mud on the seabed, sheltered from storms and scavengers. Around the frame, a tomb of brittle rock formed, which isolated it from the outside world and retained a body that otherwise could rot. When Brown’s colleagues unearthed the remains, they discovered skin and keratin, as well as fossilized bones.