A study has concluded that dinosaurs were social creatures as archeologists have discovered the footprints of two carnivorous dinosaurs who walked together on the beach 142 million years ago.
The fossilized footprints were found in modern-day Germany and have offered researchers a great deal of information on what type of dinosaurs used to live in the area – theropods.
One of the marks left in the sand was significantly larger than the other, suggesting that the duo may have been mother and child. The large dinosaur had a footprint that measured 13.5 by 14.3 inches (or 34.4 by 36.4 centimeters), whereas the little dinosaur had a footprint that measured 9.3 by 9.3 inches (or 23.5 by 23.5 cm).
The research team informed that the two had a strolling pace – roughly 6 mph (or 9.7 km / hour) for the little dinosaur, and roughly 3.9 mph (or 6.3 km / hour) for the large dinosaur.
Pernille Troelsen, study researcher who got her master’s degree in biology at the University of Southern Denmark, also added that the little dinosaur started to throttle at on point, likely because it needed to keep up with the large one, and that both dinosaurs had moments when they skidded, possibly because they occasionally slipped on the wet beach.
Troelsen stressed that the dinosaurs were merely walking, not running, as they could have easily moved at a speed of 25 mph (or 40 km / hour) or higher.
The research site in Germany’s Bückeberg Formation is not new to archeologists as field experts have been visiting it for the last 200 years in hope of finding and studying new fossilized footprints, as well as dinosaur tracks.
While most researchers look in the Bückeberg Formation’s quartz sandstones for new discoveries, Troelsen was inspired enough to study the two (2) tracks that are preserved in a mudstone layer. The decision was partly made due to her background in biology, as this offered her a unique point of view into the matter.
Troelsen explained that “As a biologist, I can contribute with knowledge about behavior of the individual animals”, knowledge that geologists don’t access quite as easily.
She shared that the information she managed to gather points at the two dinosaurs being a species of two legged meat lovers from the Megalosauripus genus. They are believed to have been the same size as Velociraptors, and Troelsen described them as agile hunters.
It’s worth mentioning that the little dinosaur sometimes crossed its legs while walking along the beach, however Troelsen could not offer a definitive reason why. She theorized that the creature may have lost its balance on the slippery sand, or that it may have seen an interesting prey worth chasing, or that it may have had a little trouble keeping up with its larger companion.
Image Source: ibtimes.com