The Jurassic Cemetery in Patagonia, Argentina, has more than 100 fossilized eggs and 80 bones. Mussaurus patagonicus Dinosaurs of age from hatching to adults. A new study found that the herd of dinosaurs suggests that these ancient beasts lived in the herd as early as 192 million years ago.
This finding is the oldest evidence on record. dinosaur Researchers said they lived in herds, suggesting that dinosaurs exhibited socially complex and collective behavior 40 million years earlier than previously thought.
The graveyard also shows that the herd had an internal structure. For example, young dinosaurs were hanging out (and died) together in a faction. Although we rarely find signs of behavior preserved in dinosaur bones, “there is now evidence of complex social behavioral structures in the herd,” said paleontologist Diego Pol, senior researcher. increase. Argentine Research Council (CONICET).
“I think this is one of the top paleontological discoveries of the year,” said Michael Demic, an associate professor of biology at Adelphi University in New York. “It’s very exciting to have so many individuals of one fossil species, from embryos to adults.”
Since 2002, Pol and his colleagues have spent part of the field season drilling relatively small outcrops of about 0.3 square miles (1 square kilometer) in the Laguna Colorado Formation in southern Patagonia.The formation is known to contain fossils M. patagonicusInappropriately given based on a small fossilized hatching specimen discovered in 1979 Scientific name It means “rat lizard”.
Over the years, Pol’s team has discovered more than 100 eggs and dozens of new fossils. M. patagonicus Individual. The specimen contains dinosaurs of six different life stages, from embryos to adults.
Previous research has revealed that M. patagonicus Spawning Soft, leather-like shell And maybe I walked on all fours as an infant, Immediately after the first birthday, transition to bipedalism. But now Pol and his colleagues have sufficient evidence to show that this Sauropodomorpha (a group of herbivorous, long-necked dinosaurs) lived in the herd.
His team assumes that herd life began when Sauropodomorpha transitioned from a small dinosaur to a giant dinosaur.In most cases Triassic (252 to 201 million years ago) Dinosaurs are small, Horse.. However, between 227 million and 208 million years ago, the researchers wrote that the Sauropodomorpha became larger and the body size changed by double digits. But they still laid small eggs.in the case of M. patagonicusThe freshly hatched turtle broke from a chicken-sized egg and grew to about 3,300 pounds (1,505 kilograms) as an adult. Hippopotamus..
In other words, M. patagonicus Freshly hatched pups had to grow to huge sizes in just a few years. “This is when they need to eat quite a lot to grow, but they don’t have the size to protect themselves, and they don’t have the expertise and knowledge,” Pol said. Told live science. “So living in a herd actually protects you during those very fragile and fragile stages of your life.”
Nest and creek
At that location, paleontologists found eggs placed in clusters. M. patagonicus The male or female dug a hole and the female used it as a nest. Pol said there were 8 to 30 eggs in these nests. X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging of five of these nests revealed that the eggs were placed in two to three layers and contained the bone of the egg embryo. M. patagonicus.. He said the huge number of egg clusters on the premises indicate that it was a common breeding ground for dinosaurs.
There were other clusters of dinosaurs of various life stages, including a group of 11 boys under the age of one, two adults found together, and nine nearly mature adults.Maybe M. patagonicus Although they lived together in the herd, dinosaurs of different ages tended to hang out together, Pol said.
These dinosaurs may have died due to the drought. “We know that this place is seasonal and there are signs of drought in the sediments,” Pol said. Many of the animals died in resting poses. That is, after lying down and dying, it was covered with wind-blown dust.
D’Emic emailed Live Science that finding a well-preserved dinosaur in one place is “very rare.” “It’s even more interesting and important that these animals appear to live in social groups. People tend to think of these extinct populations like Sauropodomorpha as evolutionary” dead ends. ” It does not mean that they did not act as sophisticated as social. “
In fact, “sociality may have been important in the evolutionary success of the sauropod, the largest animal ever walking on Earth,” Demic said.
The study was published online in the journal on Thursday (October 21st). Science report..
Originally published in Live Science.
Jurassic Cemetery Reveals Oldest Evidence That Dinosaurs Traveled in Herds
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