Story at a glance

  • Scientists have found evidence that some dinosaur species were able to live in the Arctic and Antarctic circles.
  • Now, hundreds of fossils from baby dinosaurs reveal they even nested in these harsh environments.
  • The authors of a new study say the findings suggest that dinosaurs were warm blooded.

Patrick Druckenmiller, a paleontologist at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, is often asked whether scientists have found dinosaur eggs that far up north. The answer is "no," but according to a new study, they’ve found something much better: "the actual baby dinosaurs themselves."

"It wasn't that long ago that the idea of finding any dinosaurs in such extreme latitudes and environments was a surprise," said Patrick Druckenmiller of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, a co-author of the study, in a release. "To then find out that most if not all of those species also reproduced in the Arctic is really remarkable.”


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Paleontologists discovered new microfossil deposits in Northern Alaska that contain information about the Arctic ecosystem more than 70 million years ago, which included dinosaurs of all sizes and diets. Over the last decade, researchers have unearthed hundreds of small baby dinosaur bones, including teeth from newborn or unborn dinosaurs. 

"These represent the northernmost dinosaurs known to have existed," said Druckenmiller. "We didn't just demonstrate the presence of perinatal remains--in the egg or just hatched--of one or two species, rather we documented at least seven species of dinosaurs reproducing in the Arctic."


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While previous studies provided evidence that one or two species were able to nest near or just above the Arctic or Antarctic circles, the authors claim this is "unequivocal evidence" of nesting. The finding has already prompted more questions, however, including how dinosaurs survived the cold, dark and barren Arctic winters. 

"Year-round residency in the Arctic provides a natural test of dinosaurian physiology," said co-author Gregory Erickson from Florida State University in the release. "Cold-blooded terrestrial vertebrates like amphibians, lizards, and crocodilians have yet to be found, only warm-blooded birds and mammals--and dinosaurs. I think that this is some of the most compelling evidence that dinosaurs were in fact warm-blooded."


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Published on Jun 25, 2021