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Dinosaur herd migrated over huge distances

Friday October 28, 2011 09:19:17 AM, IANS

London: A herd of dinosaurs that lived 145 million years ago migrated huge distances to find food, a study says.

Herds of Camarasaurus, a long-necked herbivore known as a sauropod, travelled almost 200 miles from the plains to the mountains to find food and water.

Camarasauraus means 'chambered lizard', from the Greek for 'vaulted chamber', referring to the hollow cavities inside the dinosaurs' vertebrae.

The journey would have taken place on a seasonal basis as the 20-tonne, 23-metre-long beasts trekked together across vast distances, according to Henry Fricke, head of the geology department at Colorado College, US, the journal Nature reports.

His research validates the belief that dinosaurs migrated during the dry season, much like modern herbivores like wildebeest and caribou, according to the Telegraph.

"I think it would have been rather slow going, with animals eating as they walked, maybe only going a few kilometres at most as they headed uphill before turning around and heading downhill again," Fricke told The Times.

"Perhaps at this pace, juveniles could keep up and could be protected from predators by staying near their huge parents," he said.

By testing isotopes found in the dinosaurs' tooth enamel, Fricke found that Camarasaurus lived in both the plains where their fossils were found and the mountains around 200 miles away.

The fossils, which were found in western America, reveal that the herd had been drinking water from high-altitude regions as well as the low-lying desert. Fricke said their journey from the lowlands to the uplands would have been both noisy and smelly.

"I imagine a lot of noise -- rustling of trees as leaves are eaten, and lots of farting... as sauropods didn't chew, they did all of their digesting in their gut," he added.





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