(University of Cape Town, Museum of Nature and Temple University press release, 11 April 2012) -- Duck-billed dinosaurs that lived within Arctic latitudes approximately 70 million years ago likely endured long, dark polar winters instead of migrating to more southern latitudes, a recent study by researchers from the University of Cape Town, Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas and Temple University has found.
The researchers published their findings, "Hadrosaurs Were Perennial Polar Residents," in the April issue of the journal The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology. Anthony Fiorillo, a paleontologist at the Museum of Nature and Science, excavated Cretaceous Period fossils along Alaska's North Slope. Most of the bones belonged to Edmontosaurus, a duck-billed herbivore, but some others such as the horned dinosaur Pachyrhinosaurus were also found.
Fiorillo hypothesized that the microscopic structures of the dinosaurs' bones could show how they lived in polar regions. He enlisted the help of Allison Tumarkin-Deratzian, an assistant professor of earth and environmental science, who had both expertise and the facilities to create and analyze thin layers of the dinosaurs' bone microstructure. Another researcher, Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, a professor of zoology at the University of Cape Town, was independently pursuing the same analysis of Alaskan Edmontosaurus fossils. ...
What the researchers found was bands of fast growth and slower growth that seemed to indicate a pattern. "What we found was that periodically, throughout their life, these dinosaurs were switching how fast they were growing," said Tumarkin-Deratzian. "We interpreted this as potentially a seasonal pattern because we know in modern animals these types of shifts can be induced by changes in nutrition. But that shift is often driven by changes in seasonality."
Posted by Amanda Graham – 12 April 2012; 11:15:09 PM – Permalink
Tagged: Arctic, News, Polar research: Reports and findings