BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Although we know some things about dinosaurs, the mystery around them is still far from being solved and recently scientists have learned about dinosaurs’ fast evolution.
According to a new study published by researchers from the University of Buenos Aires, dinosaurs have evolved at a very fast pace, in less than 5 million years after their predecessors. This means that the evolutionary timeline as we know it is suffering a change of about 10 million years.
The team of researchers was led by paleontologist Claudia Marsicano and found out that some fossils discovered in Argentina in the Chañares Formation were actually misdated. The fossils are both from dinosaurs and their predecessors so they come in handy when scientists try to calculate their age and how dinosaurs evolved.
Furthermore, the differences between dinosaurs and dinosauromorphs can be easily observed. The ancestors were quite similar to dinosaurs, except they were smaller and didn’t have the ball-and-socket hips.
The Chañares Formation seems to be a sort of gold-mine for paleontologists because, as opposed to other basins that don’t offer so much information, here the sediments are from dinosaur precursors, dinosaurs and the faunas they lived in. All of these makes it a lot easier for scientists to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, with a very narrow margin of error. They practically have a whole history laid out in front of them to discover.
What helped them determine the age of the fossils was uranium. The rate at which uranium decays into lead is known so researchers can date exactly the age of the fossils basing in the ratio of uranium to lead. The measurements were made on the crystals that were left behind by volcanic eruptions.
The fossils discovered in this basin were about 5 to 10 million years younger. Therefore, it means that the dinosaurs have had less time to evolve from pre-dinosaurs. However, they did evolved incredibly fast and they also diversified quite quickly.
In conclusion, we are continuously uncovering more and more scientific mysteries about the dinosaurs. What we discover may puzzle us even more and push us to do further research about the long-lost giants who once ruled the world.
Image source: www.bing.com