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Alaska was likely 'superhighway' for dinosaurs: Study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

was possibly the 'superhighway' for between and 65-70 million years ago, according to a study.

Researchers from the Museum of Nature and Science in the US discovered the first North American co-occurrence of hadrosaur and therizinosaur tracks in the Denali National Park in Alaska, US.

Hadrosaur was an unusual predatory dinosaur thought to have become a herbivore, while as therizinosaurs are best known from

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that an aspect of the continental ecosystem of central was also present in this part of during the Late Cretaceous.

"This discovery provides more evidence that was possibly the superhighway for between Asia and 65-70 million years ago," said from the Museum of Nature and Science.

Fiorillo and a colleague published on a distinct single footprint in Denali National Park in 2012 that they determined to be made by a therizinosaur.

In 2013 and 2014, they conducted a more detailed analysis of the area, and unearthed dozens more tracks of therizinosaurs.

What surprised Fiorillo and his team most was the co-occurrence of dozens of hadrosaurs, also known as duck-bill

"Hadrosaurs are very common and found all over Denali National Park. Previously, they had not been found alongside therizinosaurs in Denali," said Fiorillo.

"From our research, we have determined that this track association of therizinosaurs and hadrosaurs is currently the only one of its kind in North America," he said.

The plant-eating therizinosaurs are rare and unusual creatures in the fossil record.

The strange-looking dinosaurs had long skinny necks, little teeth, a small beak for cropping plants, and big torsos accompanied by large hind feet and long arms.

Though therizinosaurs are known from Asia and North America, the best and most diverse fossil record is from Asia - even up to the time of extinction - and therein is the connection.

Fiorillo has long postulated that Cretaceous Alaska could have been the thoroughfare for fauna between and Asia -two continents that shared each other's fauna and flora in the latest stages of the Cretaceous.

"This study helps support the idea that Alaska was the gateway for dinosaurs as they migrated between Asia and North America," said Yoshitsugu Kobayashi from Museum in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, August 07 2018. 12:50 IST