It is the Early Jurassic in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. A Massospondylus, a basal sauropodamorph dinosaur, is foraging for something to eat. Suddenly an unseen predator launches itself at the 6m dinosaurs tail. The attack severs a third of the tail from the dinosaur, but Massospondylus escapes death. Or at least that is one interpretation of events from fossil remains collected in 2008 and published in 2013 that have been made freely available today until the end of 2015 by Taylor and Francis. So if you fancy catching up on some Jurassic research or need some dinosaurs in your day, pop over to:
and enjoy the Jurassic Earth collection.
We here report a partial skeleton of a basal sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of South Africa in which a third instance of tail truncation in a dinosaur is recorded. We interpret this truncation as most likely representing a traumatic amputation that did not result in the immediate death of the animal.