Jellyfish are some the earliest creatures in the oceans. They started to appear 650 million years ago. Sharks are also old denizens of the deep with a history that dates back 450 million years ago. Sea snakes came about 300 million years ago. And they pre-dated the dinosaurs that were dominant a little over 200 million years ago.
But what if dinosaurs were still around? Evidently, they would be encountered both in the water and on land.
A team of paleontologists from Australia, led by University of Queensland’s Anthony Romilio, recently discovered that the world’s only recorded dinosaur stampede is largely made up of the tracks of swimming rather than running animals.
Romilio found thousands of small dinosaur tracks around 95-98 million years old at Lark Quarry Conservation Park in Queensland. The tracks were found in a shallow river. “The tracks were probably formed when the claws of swimming dinosaurs scratched the river bottom,” Romilio explained. “…the fully buoyed dinosaurs made scratch marks with their toes as they propelled themselves through the water. We suspect these dinosaurs were wading through the shallow water…and were small, two-legged herbivorous dinosaurs known as ornithopods. Some of the smaller ones were no larger than chickens, while some of the wading animals were as big as emus.”
A scary thought…but so is swimming near alligators and crocodiles.
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