Did the dinosaurs cross the ocean to reach Africa?


Researchers have discovered the first fossils of a duck-billed dinosaur in Africa, suggesting that these species crossed the ocean to reach this continent, starting from North American territory.

The study, published in Cretaceous research, reports that the new dinosaur, Ajnabia Odysseus, belonged to Hadrosauridae, a duckbill subfamily with elaborate bony ridges.

What is known so far is that duck-billed dinosaurs evolved in North America and eventually spread to South America, Asia and Europe. Since Africa was an island continent of the Upper Cretaceous, isolated by deep-sea routes, it seemed impossible that these animals could get there.

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The discovery of the new fossil in a mine just hours from Casablanca It was “almost the last thing you would expect in the world,” the said Nicholas Longrich, from the Milner Center for Evolution at the University of Bath, who led the study. “It was completely out of place, like finding a kangaroo in Scotland. Africa was completely cut off from the water, so how did they get there?”

Studies indicate that the duck-billed dinosaurs were herbivores that grew up to 15 meters in length, but the new dinosaur was small compared to its relatives, it was about three meters long.

Duck-billed dinosaurs. Photo taken from Econoticias.com

By reconstructing the evolution of the duck bill, they discovered it lambeosaurs They evolved in North America and then spread over a land bridge to Asia. From there, they colonized Europe and eventually reached Africa.

That being the case, because Africa was isolated from At that time the deep oceans, it is suggested that the duck-billed dinosaurs must have crossed hundreds of kilometers of open water, floating or swimming, to colonize the continent. It is suggested that this species was probably powerful swimming animals: They had wide tails and very strong legs and are often found in river deposits and sea rocks, so they may have swum in the distance.

“Sherlock Holmes said, once the impossible is eliminated, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth,” Longrich said in a statement. “It was impossible to walk to Africa. These dinosaurs evolved long after continental drift divided continents and we have no evidence of land bridges. Geology tells us Africa was isolated from the oceans. If it is. so, the only way to get there is by water “.

Dinosaurs of various species have generated all kinds of research to try to understand these moments in history. Photo: Pixabay

Ocean crossings are rare and unlikely events, but they have been observed in historical times. In one case, green iguanas traveled between Caribbean islands during a hurricane that was swept away by debris. In another, a turtle of Seychelles it floated hundreds of kilometers across the Indian Ocean to reach Africa.

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“Over the course of millions of years,” Longrich said, “events once in a century are likely to happen many times. Ocean crossings are needed to explain how lemurs and hippos got to Madagascar, or as monkeys. and rodents have crossed from Africa to South America.

The team of scientists was led by the University of Bath with researchers from the University of the Basque Country UVP / EHU (Spain), George Washington University (USA) and the Natural History Museum of the Sorbonne University (France) / Universite Cadi Ayyad (Morocco).

El doctora Nour-Eddine Jalil, del Natural History Museum of the Sorbonne University (France) He said: “The sequence of unlikely events (crossing of an ocean by a dinosaur, fossilization of a terrestrial animal in a marine environment) highlights the rarity of our find and therefore its importance.

* With information from Europa Press


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