London, May 27 (ANI): Scientists have discovered that horned dinosaurs, which were thought to belong only to Asia and North America, may have roamed in Europe too.
Palaeontologists have announced the discovery of fossils belonging to a horned creature called Ajkaceratops kozmai, in the Bakony Mountains of western Hungary in 2009.
"When I came back to Hungary from Bristol, I re-examined the complete collection of what we had discovered at that mine during the last 10 years," BBC News quoted Dr Attila Osi, from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as saying.
"And among some 10,000 bones I finally discovered four other specimens that could be related to ceratopsians."
Dr Butler, who is a co-author of the article published in Nature, believes the discovery is vital for the understanding of dinosaur fauna in Europe during the Late Cretaceous, some 100 to 65 million years ago. This was the last stage of dinosaurs' evolution before they went extinct.
"It's particularly important if we want to understand what dinosaurs in Europe were like at that time. It shows that horned dinosaurs were definitely present here," said the scientist.
Dr Osi said that an evolutionary pressure for them caused the dinosaurs to become smaller - a phenomena seen amongst elephants too. There were dwarfed elephants living on islands in the Mediterranean a few tens of thousands of years ago.
And for horned dinosaurs to be able to move from island to island, they should have been good swimmers, said Dr Butler.
Either that, he added, or maybe at some point the level of the prehistoric Tethys Ocean that separated southern and northern continents was so low that islands were temporarily connected by land - and animals could basically walk on the sea floor.
The findings are published in the journal Nature. (ANI)