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Dinosaur fossil gnawed by termites unearthed

By : InKunming | Published: 2013-September-3

Gnawed traces are clearly visible on the dinosaur fossil, unearthed in Lufeng County, Yunnan Province. [Provided to InKunming]

The reversion graph of termites gnawing a dead dinosaur. [Xinhua]

Traces on a dinosaur fossil was finally proved to be gnawed by termites before the formation of the fossil, according to the paleontologists from China, America, Canada, Australia.

The precious dinosaur trace fossil, which was unearthed in Lufeng County a few years ago, was named Trace of Eastern Taotie (东方饕餮迹) recently. The formation of the fossil was formed in the Jurassic Period, about 195 million years away from now.

Trace fossils are formed by traces that left over by biological activities, such as climbing tracks, stop marks, foraging traces, etc. Trace fossils are valued in verifying ancient creatures' habits and ancient climate characteristics.

According to Ran Hao(冉浩), an expect in studying ants, the research group take termite for the most possible trace maker, after excluding the possibility of benthic shrimp, mayfly, tineoid, etc.

An expect said, some termites or their ancestors probably serve as important decomposers in archaic ecosystem, just like ants do nowadays.

The trace fossil provides evidence for the hypothesis that the most archaic social inserts originated from Jurassic Period or even earlier. It also proves that termites once served as an important decomposer of dinosaurs' dead bodies.

Click here to view Chinese report.

(Editors: Tracy, Lynn)

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