According to a report from The Geological Society of America, an international team of paleontologists has discovered a new dinosaur tracksite in Alaska’s Denali National Park, filled with duck-billed dinosaur footprints.
The find demonstrates that these dinosaurs – collectively referred to as hadrosaurs – not only lived in multi-generational herds but thrived in the ancient high-latitude, polar ecosystem. The Geology paper, “Herd structure in Late Cretaceous polar dinosaurs: A remarkable new dinosaur tracksite, Denali National Park, Alaska, USA,” sheds new light onto the herd structure and paleobiology of northern polar dinosaurs in an arctic greenhouse world.
The trio of paleontologists that led the study is composed of lead author Anthony R. Fiorillo, curator of earth sciences at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and coauthors Stephen Hasiotis of the University of Kansas and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi of the Hokkaido University Museum.
“Denali is one of the best dinosaur footprint localities in the world. What we found that last day was incredible — so many tracks, so big and well preserved,” said Fiorillo. “Many had skin impressions, so we could see what the bottom of their feet looked like. There were many invertebrate traces – imprints of bugs, worms, larvae and more – which were important because they showed an ecosystem existed during the warm parts of the years.”
According to the University of California Museum of Paleontology, the “duckbilled dinosaurs” were common in the Upper Cretaceous of Europe, Asia, and North America. They were members of the Ornithopoda, and close relatives and possibly descendants of the earlier iguanodontid dinosaurs.