Paleontologists say dinosaurs may have been swimming. New research suggests fossilized track marks from what we presume to be a stampede of dinosaurs in Australia actually may have come from creatures swimming.
Thousands of fossilized footprints were formed about 95 million years ago in a riverbank in what was once a healthy and flourishing forest. According to MSNBC, the dinosaur site called Lark Quarry is merely the size of a basketball court, and has become an enclosed museum for dinosaur enthusiasts.
Instead of a group of small dinosaurs attempting to escape a massive carnivore, the fossils may reveal a sort of underwater “superhighway”, suggests Anthony Romilio, a paleontologist at the University of Queensland. Several types of dinosaurs had left their foot marks in the area, ranging in size from a chicken to a giant dinosaur with a nearly two foot long print. Romilio decided to use three-dimensional computer modeling rather than the typical two-dimensional outlines of the tracks and concluded that the prints resembled a more water-borne motion:
“The animals were going on tippy-toes, kind of like a prima ballerina would dance across the stage.”
Adding to the dinosaur swimming theory was traces of vegetation dragged about similar to the motions of a raging river. The findings suggest that large groups of dinosaurs migrated using this route over about a week. According to Fox News, Romilio muses that “it must have been quite the highway for these very small dinosaurs.”
Another scientist not involved said the new findings are convincing but don’t change the theory that the fossils indicate a stampede. Paul Willis, a vertebrate paleontologist from the Royal Institution of Australia, says the event just happened to occur in water:
“There are certainly some footprints there that I’ve seen that are consistent with a small dinosaur that is swimming and it can’t quite touch the bottom with its toes, but it still looks like we are talking about a significant group of dinosaurs all moving together as one mob.”
What do you think the historical evidence indicates the dinosaurs were swimming away from in a stampede?