Big dinosaur predator from Italy was given a burial at sea

WASHINGTON: Scientists have unearthed fossils of a large meat-eating dinosaur that stalked northern Italy 198 million years ago that was remarkable both in life and in death.
The researchers said on Wednesday Saltriovenator zanellai was about 25 feet long (7.5 metres) and weighed at least a tonne, meaning that when it lived early in the Jurassic Period it was the largest-known carnivorous dinosaur that had ever existed.
Its demise also was noteworthy.
After dying, the Saltriovenator’s carcass somehow floated into the sea and sank to the bottom, where it was scavenged over a period of months or years by numerous marine creatures before fossilizing, the researchers said. The bones bear marks likely left by the gnawing of sharks and fish as well as signs of feeding by invertebrates such as sea urchins and tiny holes penetrating the bone apparently left by marine worms.
“This is absolutely unique,” said Milan Natural History Museum palaeontologist Cristiano Dal Sasso, who led the research published in the scientific journal PeerJ. “In the scientific literature, there is mention of some dinosaur bones scavenged only by terrestrial animals, such as other dinosaurs, and, more rarely, insects. At least three kinds of marine animals left those traces on the bones of Saltriovenator.” — Reuters