Have you heard of Polar Dinosaurs? Giants playing in the snow, and small tiny dinousaurs walking on ice. The finding of fossils and skeltons raises many questions about how Dinosuar survived in the Polar climats, and what the world looked like.
In 1960, group of scientists were climbing down a cliff at Spitsbergen, when they looked backed up at the wall they saw huge footprints. The discovery of dinosaur footprints at Spitsbergen caused a sensation. The first indisputable evidence that dinosaur had inhibited the Polar region. Evidence of polar dinosaurs has been found near the North and South Pole. Did the dinosaurs migrate to warmer climates during the winter? Did they hibernate? How cold was it in the winter? How did crustal shift affect the climate?
1. The first tracks were found at Spitsbergen, and Siberia. Tracks of a medium-sized Theropod were discovered in 1976 at Spitsbergen. Skeletal remains and footprints have now been found in several arctic areas, in North America, Siberia, and Australia.
2. The first footprints belonged to a large, blunt-toed, plant-eating dinosaur. Thirteen footprints were found, each with a distinctly three-toed, and approximately 75 cm long (25-30 inches). It was suggested that the tracks belonged to an Iguanodon– a type of bird-hipped dinosaur. The first tracks discovered in 1960 have been lost due to the erosion by the sea.
3. It is difficult calculate the temperature 150 million years ago, and several different ideas have emerged. Several Iguanodon skeletons and footprints have been found in England and northern Europe, and at that time, there might have been a land connection between what is now an Arctic island and the European continent.
4. One theory suggests that the dinosaurs lived in tropical and subtropical climates. It is argued that dinosaurs had no internal temperatures and that their body temperatures were closely correlated with the temperatures of the environment. It has been suggested that the Creataceous world was tropical, even in the Polar Regions. But the Iguanodon was a plant-eating dinosaur and even if it was warmer, it was too dark during the winter. The sun does not rise at all four months during the winter – Spitsbergen is located halfway between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole. It is also possible that Spitsbergen was located further south. There could have been several crustal shifts that moved the continents around.
5. The South Polar dinosaurs existed Australia was linked to Antarctica. Skeletons from dinosaurs have been found in caves. Dinosaurs, such as Leaellynasaura, lived and thrived in dark, cool environments.
6. Leaellynasaura was a chicken sized herbivorous, with long legs and hand at the end of their front limbs. This dinosaur had a bipedal posture, and an unusual large brain for a small dinosaur. Leaellynasaura had large eyes and the large brain could have been used to help the dinosaur see in the dark. A nocturnal dinosaur that lived in caverns and caves.
7. In Montana, a dinosaur burrow has been found containing bones from Oryctodromeus cubicularis. The name means digging runner, and the burrow that was found contained densely packed remains from three skeletons. The skeletons suggest that Oryctodromeus cubicularis had a snout and shoulder girdle.
8. In Alska it was warmer 70 million years ago, but it was still cold. The sharp-tooted duck-billed dinosaur Edmontosaurus had to walk through snow and ice. The Edmontosaurus was an herbivore and most skeletal findings have been in coastal areas.
9. Adult Edmontosaurs were about the size of elephants and this makes them a good candidate for seasonal migration. An Edmontosaurs would have been too big to sleep a cave when the snow came. Some palaeontologists argue the juvenile grew too slowly and could not have followed the herd.
10. A small meat-eater, Troodon, had large eyes and a big brain for a dinosaur of its size. The majority of remains of this dinosaur have been found in the North Slope of Alaska. It is possible that the large eyes helped Troodon to survive in the cold and dark Alaskan winter.