Can you imagine the scene above in real life, not just its eternal stone ghost? Picture these ugly monsters. On the left, a pterosaur. A flying reptile chomping down a small prehistoric fish. On the right, a large herring eating the pterosaur.
The fossil has been discovered in Bavaria, Germany, and it’s an amazingly unique find. A precise portrait of the moment of the hunt. A battle that resulted in the death of everyone involved.
Scientists believe the pterosaurus was flying very low trying to grab dead fish off the surface of the water, almost touching the sea with its belly. It got a leptolepides — a small and bony prehistoric fish — and it was gulping it down its esophagus when a large Aspidorhnychus — a prehistoric herring — jumped out of the sea to chomp on it.
Researchers believe that this was a normal occurrence in the period, with the Aspidorhnychus accidentally trying to seize the pterosaurus. These cases sometimes ended in the death of both, as “the fibrous tissue of the wing membrane got entangled with the rostral teeth such that the fish was unable to get rid of the pterosaur.”
That would make them both sink into the bottom, killing them and resulting in the beautiful fossil above. [PlosOne]