Ancient Predators Caught in the Act of Murder
Marcin Chady/Wikimedia Commons
If you've ever been to a natural history museum, you've probably seen those giant skeletal reconstructions of dinosaurs rending each other's neck-meat in epic Tokyo-stomping battles for survival. Of course, dinosaurs never come straight out of the ground like that. The best a paleontologist can hope for is some tooth marks on bones -- anything more elaborate takes a cinematic eye and a whole ream of that wire they use to stitch the bones back together.
Except, that is, when they find something like this:
Dinosaur Kingdom Nakasato via University of British Columbia
"Say 'uncle'! Say it!"
Yep, that there is a protoceratops locked in vicious battle with a motherfuckin' velociraptor. This fossil turned up in the Gobi Desert in 1971, complete with the raptor's trademark death-sickle claw buried deep in its victim's neck and its arm broken in its victim's jaws (OK, so maybe "victim" wasn't the right word to use there). They were unexpectedly frozen in their never-ending battle royale when the collapse of a sand cliff buried them, and today "the fighting dinosaurs" are considered a national treasure of Mongolia.
But America wasn't about to be outdone by some Mongolians, and in 2006 a team in Montana went and dug up the classic tyrannosaurus vs. triceratops match-up dinosaur fans have been having stop-motion daydreams about for generations. The "Montana dueling dinosaurs" feature a showdown between a 30-foot nanotyrannus and an unidentified triceratops relative. This brutal battle between equal-and-opposite titans resulted in crushed bones, broken teeth, and mutual annihilation.
They basically found these fossils while digging through your childhood fantasies.