Evidence of dinosaur winter quarters in the Arctic emerges

Evidence of dinosaur winter quarters in the Arctic emerges
Evidence of dinosaur winter quarters in the Arctic emerges

Among the remains of dinosaurs that lived in northern Alaska 70 million years ago, numerous bones of cubs were found, which show that these animals did not migrate southward, bravely enduring the winter cold.

Tyrannosaurus with a Cub: Paleoreconstruction

In the days of the dinosaurs, the Far North was somewhat warmer than today. 60-80 million years ago, the average annual temperature there was about 6 ° C - slightly higher than at the latitude of modern St. Petersburg. This is indicated by analysis of sedimentary rocks from the Prince Creek Formation in Alaska. However, they also found evidence that dinosaurs at that distant time might not have migrated from the Arctic during the cold season, steadfastly enduring winter frosts, darkness, and sometimes snow.

Written by the authors of a new article published in the journal Current Biology, who speak of the remains at Prince Creek as "the most northerly of non-avian dinosaurs." Indeed, although the formation is located in northern Alaska, fossils from seven different families have been excavated there, including Tyrannosaurus, Hadrosaurus, and Ceratopsids.


Previously, it was assumed that in order to incubate and raise offspring, they were forced to migrate south. However, new work by Patrick Druckenmiller and colleagues at the University of Alaska has shown that dinosaurs can cope in the cold. Among the fossils, scientists have identified hundreds of juvenile specimens and found other traces of nesting in the middle of the cold Arctic.

The authors note that some of the dinosaurs found in Prince Creek took up to six months to hatch from an egg. It would take all the time of the northern summer, and if these animals migrated for the winter, the newborns would have to immediately embark on a long journey. In practice, this is hardly possible.

On the other hand, feathers that we now know were a common feature of many groups of dinosaurs, as well as certain physiological mechanisms for maintaining body temperature, may have kept them warm in the Arctic winter - after all, not as cold as it is today. It is also possible that they simply hibernated for this period.

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