The discovery of a giant mammal with a baby dinosaur in its belly was all the rage a few years back. The concept of a mammal that could attack and eat dinosaurs in the Cretaceous (when everybody had assumed that all mammals were the size of rats or -at most- small cats squirming around and under the legs of dinosaurs) was shattering and revolutionary. In this scene a pair of the “monstrous” Repenomamus giganticus, which were the size of a badger—larger than some dinosaurs that lived in the same region of China at this time- is about to make a meal of a flocking family of Psittacosaurus, the famous quilled, porcupine-like ornithischian dinosaur in the line of the primitive ceratopsians. They were so abundant that could be considered only second to the Mongolian Protoceratops.
Not long ago the fossil of a whole crèche of juveniles were found preserved in their cradle… all of them either hibernating or protecting themselves, killled in their sleep by volcanic ash.
The location is the Liaoning Province in China.
Repenomamus show that some Mesozoic mammals were carnivores, could grow to be much larger than previously thought, and competed with smaller dinosaurs for food and land. The dog-sized animal, R. giganticus, is the largest known mammal ever found with fairly complete fossil remains from the Mesozoic era.
Illustration first published on “Dino Babies” by Bakker/Rey.