The hadrosaur was a herbivorous duck-billed dinosaur. It inhabited the supercontinent Laurasia. However, they have just found fossil remains of this dinosaur in Morocco. How can it be? Perhaps because the hadrosaurids were the dinosaurs that crossed the sea. Did you really do it?
Laurasia was a large landmass that eventually split up. It gave birth to today’s continents like North America, Europe, and much of Asia. About 66 million years ago, the Cretaceous period was nearing its end. And hadrosaurs of many varieties colonized this continent and became one of the most common herbivore species.
Beyond the ocean
On the other side of the ocean was another landmass known as the supercontinent Gondwana. A large number of sauropods with long and large necks lived. The remains of these giants have often been found in places like Africa, India, Australia, and South America. It was believed that hadrosaurids did not normally inhabit this part of the world. However, some results in Morocco completely refute this theory. Paleontologists wonder if these are the dinosaurs that crossed the sea. How could they do that?
Recently a team of paleontologists got to work. They analyzed jaw remains and a handful of teeth from a sample found in a phosphate mine in Africa. It turns out that at least one of the specimens of this species must have traveled beyond Laurasia. And that was never thought possible, scientists note.
‘He was completely out of place. It’s like finding a kangaroo in Scotland. It was impossible to get to Africa. These dinosaurs evolved long after continental movement divided the continents. And no land bridges have been found to date. Geology shows that Africa has been isolated from the oceans. If so, the only way to get there is by water, ”explained Nicholas Longrich. He is the lead author of the University of Bath study.
It is possible?
The idea isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds, say the scientists. It seems that hadrosaurs liked to colonize areas near water. In addition, its remains have been found in all shapes and sizes. Some were up to 15 meters long, with large tails and strong legs that could make them swimmers.
It is possible that the smaller animals quickly crossed the oceans in floating vegetation rafts. And such events likely happened from time to time in the past, Longrich noted.
“Such ocean crusades are needed to explain how lemurs and hippos came to Madagascar. Or how monkeys and rodents came to South America from Africa, “he recalled.
This is the hypothesis that led scientists to refer to hadrosaurids as Ajnabia odysseus. This can be translated from Arabic as “Odysseus” traveler.