An international team of palaeontologists and other geoscience scientists has discovered the first North American presence of Hadrosaur and Therizinosaur trails in the Lower Cantwell formation in Denali National Park, indicating that an aspect of the continental ecosystem of Central Asia was also present in this part of Alaska during the late war.
This extensive interdisciplinary effort has resulted in a paper designation “An Unusual Association of Hadrosaur and Terizinosaur Traces in Late Crystals of Denali National Park, Alaska-Published in Scientific Reports An Online Open Access to Scientific Mega Journal Published by Nature Publishing Group, covering all areas of science.
Anthony R. Fiorillo, PhD student, chief jurist and vice president of research and collections at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, is the lead author. Co-author is Paul J. McCarthy , Ph.D., University of Alaska, Department of Geosciences, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Ph.D., Hokkaido University Museum, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan; Carla S. Tomsich, PhD, University of Alaska, Department of Geosciences, Ronald S. Tykoski , Ph.D., Chief of Palaeontology Lab, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Yuong-Nam Lee, Ph.D., School of Earth and my light science, Seoul N Ational University, South Korea; Tomonori Tanaka, PhD student, Hokkaido University Museum, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan; and Christopher R. Noto, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Fiorillo and a colleague published on a distinct single footprint in Denali National Park in 201
2 as they decided to be made of a terizinosaur, an unusual predatory dinosaur believed to have become a plant gland. Therizinosaurs are best known from Asia. Upon their return in 2013 and 2014, they conducted a more detailed analysis of the area, and he and his colleagues invented dozens of traces of terizinosauries. What amazed at Fiorillo and his team most was the companion of dozens of hadrosaurs, also known as duck-bill dinosaurs.
“Hadrosaurs are very common and exist over Denali National Park. Previously, they had not been found together with terizinosaurs in Mongolia, where therizinosaurs are most famous, but no footprints have been found in the association skeleton of hadrosaurs and terizinosaurs have been found to interact from a single stone unit, so this was a very unusual discovery in Alaska and it caused my interest, “said Fiorillo. “From our research, we have determined that this trace association of therizinosaurs and hadrosaurs is currently the only one of its kind in North America.”
The plant-eating terizinosaurs are rare and unusual creatures in the fossil record. The strange look of the dinosaurs had long thin throats, small teeth, a little beak for crops and large torsos, along with big hind feet and long arms with “hands like Freddy Krueger”.
Although terizinosaurs are known from Asia and North America, the best and most versatile fossil record is from Asia – until the time of extinction – and there is the connection. Fiorillo has long postulated that
Cretaceous Alaska could have been profound for wildlife between western North America and Asia-two continents that shared each other’s fauna and flora in the recent stages of the Cretan.
“This study helps to support the idea that Alaska was the gateway to dinosaurs when they migrated between Asia and North America,” says Dr. Kobayashi.
To support the theory, Fiorillo’s international team worked with researchers from across the United States, Japan and South Korea to determine whether they were traces of a terizinosaur and to study some unique aspects of the ecosystem. The members – including a sedimentologist, geologist, paleobotanist, palaeologist and additional palaeontologists, including an expert on terizinosauria – decided that this area of Denali was a wet, swampy environment and that a fossil in particular looked like a water lily supporting the theory that there were dams and standing waters nearby. They suspect that both the therizinosaurs and hadrosaurs liked these wet places.
Fiorillo believes this Alaskan discovery can connect these animals environmentally and perhaps behaviorally to other terizinosaurs in Central Asia. Asian report about these animals that are associated also came from a mountain range that was unusually “wet” then, compared to rocks above and below it.
“This discovery gives more evidence that Alaska was possibly supervising dinosaurs between Asia and Western North America 65-70 million years ago,” added Fiorillo.
Preserved trails in Alaska Park suggest accused dinosaurs living in Arctic all year round
Anthony R. Fiorillo et al., An Unusual Association of Hadrosaur and Therizinosaur Traces in Late Crystals of Denali National Park, Alaska, Scientific Reports (2018). DOI: 10,1038 / s41598-018-30110-8