Predator and Prey

Some fossils show evidence of the violent relationships between predator and prey. Below is a brief discussion of a few of such fossils – fossils that seem to preserve the moment when a carnivore has killed its victim or scavenged a dead body for food.

Predator: Mosasaur
Prey: Ammonite

Modern mammals, fish, and reptiles feed on squid and octopus. Therefore, it can safely be assumed that ancient reptiles and fish fed on their ancient relatives – the ammonites. In fact, ammonites exhibiting bite marks are not uncommon. However, such bite marks are often mistaken by the collector as being just the result of random brakes in the shells. On the other hand, there have been claims of hundreds of ammonites with the preserved tooth marks of mosasaurs. Most of these claims are false. The marks on most of the shells are holes bored or dissolved in the ammonite by limpets or other forms of gastropods, rather then holes made from the bite of such reptiles.

Preditor and Prey 013Placenticeras sp. ammonite with limpet (insert) holes show a slightly dissolved and smooth edge to the shell around the holes.


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