Yep, and this time it’s not an archosauromorph (close enough) or reptile (pushing it) but, *gasp* a mammal. But really quite a special one, and since I have photos of it, and as far as I can tell, no-one else does, I thought it worth posting.
Yes, this is Repenomamus (pictured) the quite literal ‘dinosaur-eating mammal’. Known for the Early Cretaceous Yixian formation of China (part of the Jehol) it made the headlines a few years ago when it was described. The largest Mesozoic mammal known (up to a metre with the tail), one specimen has the bones of a (presumably) tasty juvenile Psittacosaurus in its stomach (second picture, you can see the small pile of bones). Mmmmmm, yummy. Either way, it’s an impressive beast, and proof that dinosaurs were not the only significant terrestrial predators even if this guy never reached the size of T.rex.
The specimens recently went on display at the IVPP and so I took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures (which would have been better but for thick, greasy glass and small, but bright spotlights which didn’t help). I have avoided putting up photos on the musings from collections (unless given permission by the institutes) as these are scientific collections, closed to the general public, and typically ownership / images rights are copyrighted. However, those on display can be seen and photographed by anyone and happily put up on Flickr, Facebook and the like, so I don’t see this as anything that anyone else could not do (assuming they came to Beijing!). Still, these are my photos, so as ever, please don’t go round copying, downloading or linking to them.
While we are on the subject of Facebook, please do join my blog network on there if you like my work. This is not just me craving acceptance (please like me!) but a practical issue. Thanks to the Great Firewall of China, I can only access this at certains times of day and while this won’t change anything, with enough readers, I can get a blog feed direct on Facebook that I *can* access all hours and at least lets me know if people are commenting etc. Oh, and perhaps unsurprisingly, there are Ask A Biologist, and DinoBase groups too for those who like their sci comms.