New application of strontium isotopes reveals evidence of limited migratory behaviour in Late Cretaceous hadrosaurs.

Author(s) Terrill, D.F.; Henderson, C.M.; Anderson, J.S.
Journal Biol Lett
Date Published 2020 Mar

Dinosaur migration patterns are very difficult to determine, often relying solely on the geographical distribution of fossils. Unfortunately, it is generally not possible to determine if a fossil taxon's geographical distribution is the result of migration or simply a wide distribution. Whereas some attempts have been made to use isotopic systems to determine migratory patterns in dinosaurs, these methods have yet to achieve wider usage in the study of dinosaur ecology. Here, we have used strontium isotope ratios from fossil enamel to reconstruct the movements of an individual hadrosaur from Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. Results from this study are consistent with a range or migratory pattern between Dinosaur Provincial Park and a contemporaneous locality in the South Saskatchewan River area, Alberta, Canada. This represents a minimum distance of approximately 80 km, which is consistent with migrations seen in modern elephants. These results suggest the continent-wide distribution of some hadrosaur species in the Late Cretaceous of North America is not the result of extremely long-range migratory behaviours.

DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0930
ISSN 1744-957X
Citation Biol Lett. 2020;16(3):20190930.

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