Platypus dinosaur fossils were first discovered in Africa. It looks like this species, named Ajnabia odysseus, traveled hundreds of kilometers in open water to reach a continent surrounded by oceans. In a study published in Cretaceous Research, scientists talked about the new species and how dinosaurs crossed enormous distances.
Ajnabia odysseus was a member of the hadrosaur order. hadrosaurs (lat. Hadrosauridae), a family of so-called “duck-billed” dinosaurs from the suborder ornithopods, whose life span is the Cretaceous period.
They fed on plants and grew up to 15 meters in length. However, the new dinosaur was tiny compared to its cousins - only 3 meters long.
Platypus dinosaurs evolved in North America and eventually spread to South America, Asia and Europe. Since Africa was an island continent in the Late Cretaceous period, isolated by deep sea routes, scientists were convinced that the platypuses could not get there.
The discovery of a new fossil in Morocco made a difference, explains Dr. Nicholas Longreach of the Milner Center for Evolution at the University of Bath, who led the study.
It was completely inappropriate how to find a kangaroo in Scotland. Africa was completely isolated by water – so how did they get there?
Dr. Nicholas Longreach of the Milner Center for Evolution at the University of Bath
Examination of the teeth and jawbones of Ajnabia shows that this dinosaur belonged to the lambeosaurines. This is a subfamily of dinosaurs from the family of hadrosaurids, a characteristic feature of which is a bony formation on the head. Lambeosaurs evolved in North America before spreading to Asia and Europe, but have never been seen in Africa before.
Since Africa was isolated by deep oceans at the time, platypus dinosaurs appear to have traveled hundreds of kilometers in open water, possibly floating over debris, swimming to colonize the continent. They were probably good swimmers – this species is distinguished by large tails and powerful legs, their remains were often found in river sediments and sea rocks. It looks like the “platypus” dinosaurs really covered these huge distances.
In connection with this feat, the dinosaur was named “Ajnabia odysseus”. Ajnabia means “foreigner” in Arabic, and Odysseus is a Greek navigator.
The fact that platypus dinosaurs have spread to multiple continents, even at high sea levels, suggests that dinosaurs traveled across the oceans. “As far as I know, we are the first to suggest this,” concludes Dr. Nicholas Longreach.