The dinosaurs They moved in herds And they did so much earlier than previously thought, according to a study analyzed partial skeletons Who is this creatures An x-ray of the eggs was done dinosaur found in fossil deposits in the south Argentina.
The results have been published in magazine Scientific Reports and the fossils studied indicates the presence of a nest Society and adults are looking for food and care for the young: the first dinosaurs They could have lived in social colonies 193 million years ago, 40 million years earlier than other records reveal.
This behavior may have given those the animals a evolutionary advantageAccording to the researchers.
In the past, studies had shown that some of these animals were in the last stage of life Age of the dinosaurs (Cretaceous) They lived in flocks. However, it was pending when and how this behavior emerged, explains a statement from the European Synchrotron ESRF.
In the early 2000s, there was an international team of Scientists found in Laguna Colorada formation (Patagonia) a 190 million-year-old dinosaur nesting site, which contained Juvenile skeletons It belongs to “Mussaurus patagonicus”, a primitive sauropod dinosaur (the ancestor of large, long-necked dinosaurs).
One element that can shed light on how the first lived dinosaurs they were egg have found. “It is difficult to find fossil eggs, and even more so, to find fossil eggs with embryos inside, since very special conditions are required to fossilize them,” explains Diego Bol, a paleontologist at Conicet (Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technical Research) and its director. from the investigation.
After a complex journey from Argentina (Not every day someone carries dinosaur eggs as hand luggage between continents), Paul arrived at the ESRF, in France, with 30 of the more than 100 eggs found at the site, to analyze without destroying them.
High resolution tomography detection fossilized embryos from Photographer Inside some of the eggs and showed that all these fossils belong to the mass breeding site of one type of dinosaur.
In parallel, the researchers studied deposit Based on sediment, were able to conclude that the nesting site was located on the dry edges of the lake.
One of the main aspects is that the skeletons of dinosaur They weren’t randomly scattered around deposit, but they were grouped by age.
fossils small were near nests; One-year-old pups were found closely related to each other, including a group of 11 skeletons at rest, suggesting that Photographer Formed “schools” for young people.
Adults and sub-adults were often related in pairs or alone, but all within one square kilometer area.
To determine the age of juvenile fossils, the Scientists They carried out histological studies, that is, they cut a thin sheet of bone Bone tissue is observed when microscope.
“This separation of ages is a clear indication of a complex social structure in the form of a herd,” MIT notes, noting that living in herds may have endowed Mosaurus and other sauropodomorphs with “sociality.” evolutionary advantage.
“It was decided that Mosaurus would return year after year to the same place to form these colonies. He had a highly organized herd structure and this work is the first record of complex social behavior in primitive species of dinosaurs,” Paul concludes.
“This is not the oldest dinosaur, but it is the oldest for which herd behavior has been suggested.”
The Scientists It is suspected that there were two other types of early dinosaurs – the Massospondylus from South Africa and the lovinggosaurus from China– He also lived in herds at the same time, although their dating is less accurate.
“Beeraholic. Friend of animals everywhere. Evil web scholar. Zombie maven.”