Dinosaurs are commonly thought to be ‘tropical’ animals—but recently their remains have been discovered close to the inferred ‘Mesozoic’ poles. Such discoveries include dinosaurs unearthed in southeast Australia and New Zealand in areas assumed to be close to a former South Pole. Many dinosaur remains are not only found near the inferred ‘Mesozoic’ poles, but also at polar latitudes today. Dinosaur bones and tracks have been found on Svalbard (north of Norway), the North Slope of Alaska, northern Canada from the Yukon Territory to the Queen Elizabeth Islands, central Siberia and Antarctica.2

Many types of dinosaurs have recently been discovered at high latitudes. Pachycephalosaurs were discovered on the North Slope of Alaska in 1999.3 A duck-billed dinosaur tooth was recently discovered on James Ross Island, Antarctica.4 Eight types of dinosaurs—four herbivores and four carnivores—are now known from northern Alaska.3,5  Abundant but widely spaced tracks and trackways have also been found in northern Alaska.6,7  All dinosaur fossils found at high latitudes are also found at lower latitudes; it appears there were no dinosaurs adapted just to polar locations.8 The North Slope dinosaurs resemble those found in Alberta, Canada and Montana and Wyoming, USA.9

But because of these polar discoveries, the idea that dinosaurs were tropical beasts has been changed, ushering in ideas about ‘warm-blooded dinosaurs’ in order to survive the cold. However, the physiology of dinosaurs has been the subject of much controversy. It is still not known whether or not dinosaurs were warm-blooded (endothermic)10 as there are many physiological differences between species. Many paleontologists believe the dinosaurs possessed a unique physiology between warm-blooded and cold-blooded….

 

 

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