We’re familiar with some pretty big animal migrations. The Wildebeest, various birds, and hundreds of other animals. But did dinosaurs migrate? It has long been thought that yes, they did, but there has been no evidence for it…until now.
During the late Jurassic the area where these dinosaurs have been found would have been a floodplain, a great place for food. It would have periodically dried out during the dry seasons though, it would make sense for the dinosaurs to leave for pastures new.
We need evidence though, and evidence is now what we have. Scientists analysed the oxygen isotopes in the teeth. Certain ratios of these isotopes determine by what water they drank. It was discovered that the ratio in the teeth was different to that of the ratio in the floodplain, suggesting that the dinosaurs migrated and drank water from a completely different area.
Further analysis showed that the isotopes changed over a period of 5 months, inferring a seasonal change.
Can you imagine? Giant sauropods, hundreds of them, on a great migration in search of food and water. Another interesting fact to add though is that it wouldn’t just be sauropods migrating. When modern herbivores migrate predators follow them. It’s thought the same probably happened in the late Jurassic but by the extremely successful predator Allosaurus.
- The Dinosaurs’ Nemeses: Giant, Jurassic Fleas (wnyc.org)
- Sauropod hands: the manus of “Morosaurus” sp. (svpow.com)
- Doomed Before Asteroid? (foxnews.com)
- Some dinosaurs may have been in trouble even without the asteroid (io9.com)