Dinosaur species made the Arctic their permanent home and may have evolved techniques to survive the cold, according to a new study published in current biology.
This study is the first to provide evidence that at least seven species of dinosaurs were able to reproduce at these very high latitudes. Discovered species include hadrosaurs (or duck-billed dinosaurs), horned dinosaurs such as ceratopsian, and carnivores such as tyrannosaurs. “We associate dinosaurs with tropical environments, but the whole Earth was not like that.”Says Patrick Druckenmiller, lead author of the study (University of Alaska Museum North). The Arctic was much warmer than it is today, but conditions were still very challenging. The annual temperature was about 6 °C, but the lows were the order of the day, with snow falling in the winter.
“We now know that most of the carnivorous dinosaurs out there probably had feathers.. You can imagine this as their down jacket to help them survive the winter.” Researchers believe that the small herbivores will bury themselves underground and burrow into hibernation. Older people, who had larger reserves of fat, relied on lower quality twigs and bark to weather the winter. On the other hand, the fact that dinosaurs remained in the Arctic year-round is further evidence of the idea that dinosaurs were warm-blooded animals. They then represent a point of evolution between cold-blooded reptiles and warm-blooded birds.
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