Thousands of fossilized dinosaur tracks found in Alaska along the banks of the Yukon River are prompting researchers to assume the state was once a popular dinosaur hangout.
“We found dinosaur footprints by the scores on literally every outcrop we stopped out,” expedition researcher Paul McCarthy of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, said in a statement, according to LiveScience
. “I’ve seen dinosaur footprints in Alaska now in rocks from southwest Alaska, the North Slope and Denali National Park in the interior, but there aren’t many places where footprints occur in such abundance.”
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The Alaska Public Lands Information Center states
, “The discovery of dinosaurs in the northern regions of Alaska sparked the question: How did these dinosaurs survive the winters?”
The two main theories, according to the center, are they slowed down their metabolisms – perhaps even hibernated — or they migrated south for warmer climates.
LiveScience reported that in the past decade, dinosaur footprints have been found in Denali National Park, apparently left in rocks dating up to 80 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. The latest prints found along the Yukon River probably date back 25 million to 30 million years.
“It took several years of dedicated looking before the first footprint was discovered in Denali in 2005, but since that time hundreds of tracks of dinosaurs and birds have been found,” LiveScience quoted McCarthy as saying. “In contrast, the tracks were so abundant along the Yukon River that we could collect as many as 50 specimens in as little as 10 minutes.”
According to Wired.com, our vision of dinosaurs may be a little off base.
“Dinosaurs aren’t all big and scaly,” the website says. “The more fossils they find, and the closer they examine them, the more scientists realize how diverse these animals were. Sure, some were massive meat eaters. But lots more scampered around on the ground chomping on vegetation. And many more than previously thought may have sported feathers.”
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