An unexpected place. Dinosaurs didn’t just vacation in the high Arctic; they could have lived there all year. This is the conclusion of a new work published in the journal Current Biology whose new fossil evidence from hundreds of bones and teeth found along the Colville River in northern Alaska attests to this. The fossils, or rather microfossils, belonged to baby dinosaurs, the researchers say, suggesting that many species lived and thrived in some of the coldest parts of the planet.
The remains, which fell from outcrops of the Prince Creek Formation, represent up to seven families of dinosaurs, including tyrannosaurs, duck-billed hadrosaurs and horned and frilled ceratopsids.
“These are the dinosaurs [no aviares] northernmost we know, ”says paleontologist Patrick Druckenmiller of the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks. “And now it’s clear that they weren’t just migrating to polar latitudes. They are actually nesting, laying and incubating eggs … practically at the North Pole“.
Compelling proof that they were hot blooded
The fossils date back to the early late Cretaceous Maastrichtian age, about 70 million years ago and his find adds to the evidence that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, thus dispelling the idea that arctic species had migrated to lower and warmer latitudes to lay eggs.
“We now have unequivocal evidence that they were nesting there as well. This is the first time that someone has shown that dinosaurs can reproduce at these high latitudes, “the scientists explain.
The researchers found tiny teeth and bones of perinatal dinosaurs, those that had just been born or were about to do so. Dinosaur babies came from seven species, from tiny bird-like creatures to fearsome tyrannosaurs, and they represent almost all types of arctic dinosaurs.