Dinosaurs could swim
May 24, 2007
Researchers found evidence that terrestrial dinosaurs were capable of swimming.
Examining fossilized footmarks left on the floor of an ancient lake bed in northern Spain 125 million years ago, scientists led by Loic Costeur of the Universite de Nantes in France said the tracks were left by a swimming meat-eating dinosaur. The research is published in the journal Geology.
Sketch of a swimming theropod dinosaur on the shores of the Cretaceous lake Cameros in Spain. Drawn by Guillaume Suan, University Lyon1, France.
“The dinosaur swam with alternating movements of the two hind limbs, a pelvic paddle swimming motion,” said Costeur. “It is a swimming style of amplified walking with movements similar to those used by modern bipeds, including aquatic birds.”
The question of whether dinosaurs–excluding fully marine reptiles like the plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs–could swim has been long debated and researched. The authors say that their findings represent the first evidence documenting the behavior.
“The trackway at La Virgen del Campo opens the door to several new areas of research,” said Costeur. “New biomechanical modeling will increase our understanding of dinosaur physiology and physical capabilities, as well as our view of the ecological niches in which they lived.”
The article is based on a news release from Geology