Last duck-billed dinos lived in European continent before mass extinction

November 6th, 2009 - 5:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, November 6 (ANI): In a new research, Spanish scientists have determined that the hadrosaurs, the so-called ‘duck-billed’ dinosaurs, were the last of their kind to inhabit the European continent before disappearing during the K/T extinction event that occurred 65.5 million years ago.

The researchers came to the conclusion by studying the fossil record of a new hadrosaur, the Arenysaurus ardevoli, found in Huesca, Spain.

According to the researchers, a few million years before the catastrophic event that led to the extinction of dinosaurs, several species of hadrosaurs coexisted in the Iberian Peninsula.

“The Iberian archeological record is important from an European context due to the quantity and quality of the fossil material discovered,” explained Xavier Pereda-Suberbiola, one of the study’s authors and a researcher at the University of the Basque Country (UPV / EHU).

The researcher, collaborating with paleontologists from the University of Zaragoza, Valencia, Complutense of Madrid, Autonoma de Barcelona and the Jurassic Museum of Asturias, specifies that the presence of evolved hadrosaurs in Europe could be due to migration from Asia and North America.

“In Europe, primitive hadrosaurs coexist with evolved hadrosaurs, and the persistence of basal members could be due to the insular palaeobiogeography of Europe during the Upper Cretaceous,” said Pereda-Suberbiola.

In addition to the fossils found in the Iberian Peninsula, hadrosaur fossils have been found in the Netherlands, which date back to Late Cretaceous, “although the material is more fragmented than those found in Huesca and Lleida,” added Pereda-Suberbiola.

During that time period, Europe was isolated from other continents and this may have led to the survival of certain lineages.

“The European hadrosaur faunas are different from those seen in North America and Asia, which are both dominated by evolved species,” explained Pereda-Suberbiola.

Next to the hadrosaurs, identifiable by the fossilized mandibles found in the arechological sites of La Solana (Valencia) and Fontllonga (Lleida), were a lambeosaurine hadrosaurs yet to be defined, and a newly discovered lambeosaurine, the Arenysaurus ardevoli. (ANI)

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