Lately our understanding of dinosaursstarted to change a lot. Not so long ago, scientists found that dinosaurs were not naked and scaly at all, but often had bright plumage. And they looked much prettier than, for example, in the movie “Jurassic Park”. Now, scientists have managed to find out that, contrary to our ideas, they adapted well to frost, although, as you know, they came out of warm southern regions. Moreover, the ability to withstand the cold and allowed them to spread throughout the planet and dominate until the moment of extinction. In particular, they survived quite normally even in the polar regions, as evidenced by one of the latest studies. But why did scientists draw such conclusions? We propose to look into this further.
The period of the dinosaurs - how reptiles "captured" the world
Dinosaurs evolved approximately 231 million years agotemperate southern latitudes. At that time, the land was not yet divided into continents. There was only one supercontinent, Pangea. The northward movement of animals across this supercontinent began approximately 214 million years ago. They began to migrate towards the Arctic regions.
However, at that time dinosaurs remaineda relatively small group compared to other animal species that inhabited the planet at that time. Before the mass extinction of 202 million years, tropical and subtropical regions were dominated by reptiles - relatives of modern crocodiles and other equally frightening creatures.
During the Triassic period and throughoutFor most of the Jurassic period, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was five times higher than it is now. As a result, the temperature on the planet was high. Excavations have shown that deciduous forests grew even in the polar regions, while there is no evidence of ice caps. Therefore, the cold-blooded felt quite comfortable.
But the situation began to change 202 million yearsago, when the Triassic-Jurassic extinction began. As a result of a chain of massive volcanic eruptions, the planet has cooled greatly. This led to the extinction of more than 75% of animal species on land and in the sea.
As you probably guessed, the cold did not killdinosaurs. They quickly adapted to new conditions and began to dominate already in the Jurassic period, that is, approximately 201-145 million years ago. This is reported by the researchers in their work, published recently in Scientific Advances. Thus the world of dinosaurs was born.
Dinosaurs lived in frozen regions
Scientists managed to find out that dinosaurs lived incold region, thanks to traces of their habitation along the coastline of shallow lakes in China. Here, scientists found small pebbles, which were identified as traces of ice drift. Ice sheets carried small stones from the shore to the center of the lake. They were deposited when the ice melted in the summer.
According to the researchers, everything points toThe fact that the region was ice-bound in winter, but at the same time dinosaurs felt quite normal, their population increased. As a result, by the end of the Triassic, they already dominated the land.
Now the main question remains why dinosaursendured the cold better than other animals? According to previous studies, these animals were warm-blooded. Moreover, they had a good metabolism, which made it possible to maintain body temperature even in extreme conditions. In addition, as we said at the very beginning of the article, many even non-avian dinosaurs had good thermal insulation - feathers. Many other animals, such as crocodiles, had neither wool nor feathers. Therefore, the cold quickly killed them.
The world of dinosaurs in the southern regions
So the dinosaurs turned out to be well adaptedto harsh winters, unlike other animals. But why did they also dominate in the southern regions? According to experts, as a result of strong volcanic eruptions, the temperature could drop to negative values even in tropical regions. This led to the extinction of many vertebrates that could not adapt to frost.
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Thus, another stereotype aboutdinosaurs that they lived exclusively in the green thickets of the jungle. In fact, they had to wander among the ice for part of the year. But what did they eat, how did they live? Unfortunately, there are no answers to these questions yet.
I must say that earlier dinosaur footprintsthe researchers searched in warm regions. Therefore, there is no information about their winter life. Now scientists plan to start looking for fossils and other traces of habitation in the former polar regions, which were previously ignored. If the conclusions of scientists are confirmed, then in the near future we will have many new discoveries.
Finally, remember that dinosaurs became extinct inthe result of an asteroid falling to Earth. However, according to scientists, they would have died out, most likely, even if this catastrophe had not happened, as we talked about earlier.