Mesozoic Migrations: Understanding Dinosaur Movement

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Mesozoic Migrations: Understanding Dinosaur Movement

Today, numerous species migrate to escape cold weather, find food sources, and avoid predators. Although dinosaurs may have lived millennia ago, they likely shared this trait with many animals we see today. Expand your understanding of Mesozoic migrations and dinosaur movement.

Reasons for Migration

Dinosaurs needed large amounts of food and water to sustain their energy so the species could flourish. The species would have to find more abundant food sources, such as lush vegetation or herds of prey animals, if food or water sources dried up.

Additionally, migration allowed dinosaurs to avoid predators. A group of triceratopses may have naturally chosen to find a new habitat if a group of T. rex began hunting in the area.

Some dinosaurs may have also migrated due to alterations in temperature and food sources as the Mesozoic climate changed. Migration increased a species’ chance of survival and adaptation as Earth underwent natural changes.

Evidence of Migration

Scientists hypothesize that dinosaurs migrated due to the location of fossil beds of specific species. Numerous species of Hadrosaurus, Ceratopsians, and Theropods exist in Asia and North America. Their existence in these areas was only possible because the species moved from one territory to another.

Other evidence, such as dinosaur tracks, show long trails spanning from one location to another. Paleontologists can determine which species left the tracks by comparing the size and shape of footprints to a dinosaur’s bones.

Dino Fact

One of the most interesting things dinosaur tracks tell us is whether they traveled solo or in groups. Massive beds of dinosaur tracks indicate a species traveled—and possibly lived—within a group.

How Pangea Impacted Migration

A crucial part of understanding Mesozoic migrations and dinosaur movement is understanding how Pangea, the supercontinent that existed during this era, shaped dinosaur passages. Living on a single massive landmass made it easier for dinosaurs to move from one area to another if food became scarce or threats such as predators became more prevalent.

However, there were likely natural continental bridges that dinosaurs walked on as Pangea began drifting apart. Most experts hypothesize these natural bridges existed because dinosaurs did not swim, and continental drift—the movement of continents—takes tens to hundreds of millions of years.

Dino Fact

Pangea began breaking apart at the start of the Mesozoic era in the Triassic period, so dinosaur migration likely slowed down by the Jurassic period as continents drifted further apart.

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