Baby dinosaurs lived around the area that is currently the Alaskan Arctic roughly 70 million years ago, an “unexpected” discovery of over 100 baby dinosaur bones showed.
It was impressive to discover evidence of a prehistoric nursery in such a cold spot, the researchers noted.
Even during the warm Cretaceous period (between 145 million and 66 million years ago), Alaska registered an average monthly temperature of approximately 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius(, and for roughly four months of the year, the dinosaurs had to live in permanent darkness and endure snowy weather, they added.
The fossils were discovered in the Prince Creek Formation of northern Alaska, “the farthest north that dinosaurs ever lived,” mentioned Gregory Erickson, a paleobiologist from the Florida State University and study’s co-lead researcher, in an interview with Live Science.
He also said that he doesn’t think that it was possible for dinosaurs to live any farther north from that point.
After studying the babies’ bones and teeth, the scientists figured that the remains belonged to seven different dinosaur species.
The discovery shows that dinosaurs possibly lived in the frigid region all year, as the babied were possibly too small for yearly migrations soon after hatching, Erickson added.
If the baby dinosaurs and their parents remained in Alaska for an entire year, they were possibly warm-blooded or endothermic, a trait that would have granted them the adaptations needed to stay active even when temperatures got extremely cold.
Researchers knew that dinosaurs inhabited polar areas since oil workers discovered dinosaur bones there in the 1950s, Erickson said.
In the upcoming decades, scientists of the University of Alaska Museum of the North found the remains of young dinosaurs in the region.