Fans of marine trivia may already know that a starfish is a messy eater. Instead of putting prey in their stomachs, many starfish species put their stomachs into their prey, throwing up this organ inside-out and letting its acidic juices break down the food into nutrient soup. Then the starfish slurps up its meal, sucks its stomach back in, and shuffles on its merry way.
Because starfish like to dine on bivalves like mussels, which hide away in an opaque shell, it can be pretty hard to watch a starfish in the act of eating. Unless you have this incredible time-lapse video from Shape of Life on Vimeo, which shows the process from the mussel’s meal’s point of view.
[via Deep Sea News]
You’d think that a flying pterosaur with a 6-foot wingspan wouldn’t have to worry too much about getting eaten. Two recent fossils suggest otherwise.
Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science tells the perverse story behind this stunning fossil:
The Rhamphorhynchus [pterosaur] has a small fish lodged in its throat. It had just caught its prey and had started to swallow it. This animal was very much alive when Aspidorhynchus [a predatory fish] snagged it. But not for long – Rhamphorhynchus was probably pulled underwater and drowned. But the encounter was fatal for Aspidorhynchus too. Its skull wasn’t flexible enough to cope with large prey, and the pterosaur was too big and bulky for it to swallow.
It probably couldn’t get rid of its victim either. The pterosaur’s left wing bones are distorted, while the rest of its skeleton is intact. [The study’s authors] Frey and Tischlinger think that the fish tried to shake off its unwanted morsel, clearly to no avail. Perhaps the tough fibres in Rhamphorhynchus’s wing snagged in Aspidorhynchus’s tightly packed teeth. With neither party able to break free, both died.
The velociraptor in the fossil below didn’t fare too well either after eating a pterosaur, which was likely its last meal. The black arrows point to pterosaur bone fragments in its rib cage. The white arrow points to its own broken rib. Read More