Toronto, June 18 (ANI): Alberta scientists have discovered the largest bed of dinosaur bones near Hilda, 50 km north of Medicine Hat.
The discovery also indicates that the beasts were routinely wiped out by 'catastrophic' tropical storms.
The site contains thousands of bones from the plant-eating dinosaur Centrosaurus apertus - a type of horned dinosaur distantly related to the Triceratops. The discovery also shows that dinosaurs travelled in larger herds.
"Data from this mega bonebed provide pretty clear evidence that these and other dinosaurs were routinely wiped out by catastrophic tropical storms that flooded what was once a coastal lowland here in Alberta, 76 million years ago," the Globe and Mail quoted David Eberth, a senior research scientist at the museum, the lead author on the study and one of the book's three editors, as saying.
According to the team, the vast coastal landscape as being submerged during tropical storms or hurricanes, forcing the large beasts to drown, leaving carcasses clumps across kilometres of ancient landscape as floodwaters receded.
"It's unlikely that these animals could tread water for very long, so the scale of the carnage must have been breathtaking. The evidence suggests that after the flood, dinosaur scavengers trampled and smashed bones in their attempt to feast on the rotting remains," said Eberth.
"Because of their size and the scale of the flooding, dinosaurs could not escape the coastal floodwaters and would have been killed in large numbers. In contrast, fish, small reptiles, mammals and birds may have been able to escape such seasonal catastrophes by retreating to quiet water areas, the safety of trees and burrows, or simply by flying away," he added.
The details are published in a new book "New Perspectives On Horned Dinosaurs," published this month by Indiana University Press. (ANI)