Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Of Polar Dinosaur Migration Questions Whether Dinosaurs Were Truly The First Great Migrators

Date:
October 22, 2008
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
A recently released study of northern and southern polar dinosaur migration indicates that some species may have migrated nearly 3,000 km in a six month period- far short of the distance needed to reach warmer climes. What's more, the study also revealed that other species would have been forced to endure polar winters and exhibited characteristics similar to today's nonmigratory animals when dealing with hibernating, foraging and even burrowing.

Phil Bell holding a vertebra of a 70-million-year-old Saurolophus.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Alberta

Contrary to popular belief, polar dinosaurs may not have traveled nearly as far as originally thought when making their bi-annual migration.

University of Alberta researchers Phil Bell and Eric Snively have suggested that while some dinosaurs may have migrated during the winter season, their range was significantly less than previously thought, which means their treks were shorter. Bell and Snively's findings were recently published in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Paleontology.

The idea that these animals may have travelled distances nine times further than mule deer or four times those of wildebeest would have made them the greatest migrators in history. "There are strong opinions regarding dinosaur migration, but we decided to take a different approach, looking at variables such as energy requirements," said Bell. Their research led them to suggest that migrating dinosaurs could have travelled up to 3,000 kilometres in a round trip—lasting perhaps up to six months—half of the distance suggested previously.

According to Bell, the notion of migrating polar dinosaurs is not new; however, previously-held beliefs were that the animals followed the centrally shifting sunlight, or latitudinal "sun line," as part of their migration and would travel as far as 30 degrees of latitude, or 3,200 kilometres, in order to survive. Given their size and physiology, Bell and Snively have concluded that dinosaurs would have been incapable of sustaining the effort needed to make the trip. "When we looked at the energy requirements needed to support a three-tonne Edmontosaurus over this distance, we found it would have to be as energy efficient as a bird. No land animal travels that far today," said Bell.

Bell does not dispute the evidence of migration and points to discoveries of large bone beds as evidence that many dinosaurs also traveled. In order to sustain the herd, "it seemed to make sense that they would be moving to and from the poles," he said.

While this view of migration is feasible for some species of polar dinosaurs, it does not hold for all, Bell noted. "Many types of dinosaurs were surviving in polar latitudes at the time, and getting along quite fine," said Bell. "They were not physically able to remove themselves from the environment for a variety of reasons and had to adapt to the cold, dark winters just as the rest of us mammals do today."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Study Of Polar Dinosaur Migration Questions Whether Dinosaurs Were Truly The First Great Migrators." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081021185205.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2008, October 22). Study Of Polar Dinosaur Migration Questions Whether Dinosaurs Were Truly The First Great Migrators. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081021185205.htm
University of Alberta. "Study Of Polar Dinosaur Migration Questions Whether Dinosaurs Were Truly The First Great Migrators." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081021185205.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German World War II Bomber Found in Croatia's Adriatic

German World War II Bomber Found in Croatia's Adriatic

AFP (Oct. 2, 2014) A rare, well-preserved German World War II bomber has been found in Croatia's central Adriatic more than seven decades after it was shot down, the national conservation institute said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) A Spanish cannon used in the Battle of New Orleans and weighing nearly 3 tons was lowered Tuesday by pulleys, chains and muscle onto a new gun carriage like one that might have held it once aboard a navy ship. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) A 2,000 year-old Pre-Inca cloak that is believed to represent an agricultural calendar of the Paracas culture is on display in Lima. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins