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Duckbill Dinosaurs Swam Hundreds of Kilometres to Reach Different Continents, Reveals New Study

Representative image / Reuters,

Representative image / Reuters,

A new dinosaur, Ajnabia Odysseus, which is a member of the plant-eating duckbill dinosaur family, was found in Morocco. The species is being dated back some 66 million years, which was towards the end of the Cretaceous period.

In a recent finding, fossils of a duckbill dinosaur have been discovered in Africa. As per the experts, this type of dinosaur apparently used to travel hundreds of kilometres across oceans to reach another continent.

According to a report published in the CNN, a new dinosaur, Ajnabia Odysseus, which is a member of the plant-eating duckbill dinosaur family, was found in Morocco. The species is being dated back some 66 million years, which was towards the end of the Cretaceous period.

In terms of height, the duckbill dinosaurs could grow up to 15 meters long, while Ajnabia was comparatively tiny, measuring some three meters.

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Technically, the Duckbill dinosaurs evolved in North America, and later spread to South America, Asia and Europe. Nicholas Longrich, a senior lecturer at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, who led this study has described the discovery of the fossil as "about the last thing in the world you would expect. It was completely out of place, like finding a kangaroo in Scotland. Africa was completely isolated by water –- so how did they get there?"

In the study, the researchers studied Ajnabia's teeth and jawbones. After analysing, the experts determined that it belonged to the Lambeosaurinae subfamily.

The team of researchers, which is being led by the University of Bath with researchers from Spain, US, France and Morocco, are of the opinion that it is in a first that an ocean crossing has been suggested for dinosaurs.

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Researchers believe that duckbills would have managed to cover such a distance because of their large tails and powerful legs. It would have been comparatively easier for them to cross hundreds of kilometres, including rafting on debris, floating, and swimming because of their body type.

Substantiating his stance, Longrich added, "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 split the continents, and we have no evidence of land bridges. The geology tells us Africa was isolated by oceans. If so, the only way to get there is by water."