Dinosaurs crossed the ocean, according to a new fossil find


“It was completely out of line, like finding a kangaroo in Scotland. Africa was completely cut off by water, so how did they get there? “asked Nicholas Longrich, leader of the work that publishes Cretaceous Research magazine.” Sherlock Holmes said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. It was impossible to walk to Africa. These dinosaurs evolved long after continental drift divided the continents, and we have no evidence of land bridges. Geology tells us that Africa was isolated by oceans. If so, the only way to get there is by water”.

This small hadrosaur has therefore forced us to reflect on how dinosaurs spread across continents. Based on this finding, scientists suggest that these dinosaurs must have crossed hundreds of miles of open water – rafting on rubble, floating, or swimming – to colonize the continent.

Just swimming

Considering that it was impossible to walk to Africa, hadrosaurs they were probably excellent swimmers– They had large tails and powerful legs, and their remains are often found in river deposits and marine rocks, so it is possible that they simply swam the entire stretch of distance that separated the two locations.

“As far as I know, we are the first to suggest that dinosaurs cross the ocean,” Longrich clarifies.

Is it an unheard of case?

Ocean crossings involving animals are clearly rare events, but have been observed previously. Thus, a turtle from the Seychelles islands also floated hundreds of kilometers across the Indian Ocean to reach Africa, even green iguanas used debris to travel between the Caribbean islands during a hurricane. Ocean crossings are also needed to explain how lemurs and hippos came to Madagascar, and there are many other examples.

“Over millions of years, events that occur once in a century are likely to happen many times”, concludes the expert.

Be that as it may, it is a succession of improbable events which “highlights the rarity of our find and, therefore, its importance”, says Nour-Eddine Jalil, of the Museum of Natural History of the Sorbonne University and also co-author of the work.

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