Scientists discovered a set of fossilized footprints left by a pair of dinosaurs on a beach in northern Germany. Researchers believe that the find may suggest the carnivorous animals were involved in social behavior.
The newly found tracks point out that one of the animals was large while the other one was smaller. Seemingly, both dinosaurs weren’t in a hurry when they left the prints. The large one walked at 4 miles per hour while its partner walked at a 6 mph pace.
The footprints also suggest that from time to time the small dinosaur hurried up to keep pace with its larger friend. Additionally, both dinosaurs occasionally slipped on the wet sand, researchers found.
Pernille Troelsen, a biologist of the University of Southern Denmark and co-author of the study, explained that the animals were virtually walking on the beach since the paces are unusually slow for them who are otherwise active and fast predators. When hunting, they could run by up to 25 miles per hour.
Northern Germany hosts a famous center of attraction for paleontologists called the Bückeberg Formation, where heaps of fossilized dinosaur traces were discovered over the course of two centuries. Many of those traces were embedded in sandstone but the newly found footprints were found in a mudstone layer.
The pair of trackways which contain about 50 footprints were of particular interest to Ms. Troelsen. She said that she being a biologist helped her get new insights into the prints than the rest of her colleagues who are paleontologists. A biologist can bring new ideas on how the animals behaved, she explained.
One of the footprints was 14.3 inches long which is greater than a man’s 15 shoe size, while the smaller footprint was 9.3 inches long which is about size 6 in man shoes. The large dinosaur was likely 5.2 feet tall, while the small one was 3.6 feet tall, scientists suggests, and both animals were carnivores from the Megalosauripus family.
Just like Velociraptors, the two dinosaurs were agile predators that walked and hunted for their prey on two feet. Traces showed that from time to time the small animal crossed its legs as it tried to keep pace with its larger counterpart. Scientists do not know why exactly that happened but they have some ideas.
It was maybe because the sand was wet and slippery or maybe a strong wind tossed it aside. Or it either found something interesting on the beach or just wanted to keep up with the other dinosaur.
Ms. Troelsen believes that the two trackways suggest the two dinosaurs were social animals. Maybe the two were even related like parent and offspring. Others studies had shown that some dinosaurs also displayed social behavior such as hunting together or having “daycares” where female dinosaurs took care of young dinosaurs together.
Image Source: Telegraph.uk
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