Washington, Oct 16 (ANI): Scientists have determined that different species of North American dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous period 65 million years ago occupied different environments separated by just a few miles.
Hadrosaurs or duck-billed dinosaurs, along with the small ornithopod Thescelosaurus, preferred to live along the edge of rivers, while Ceratopsians preferred to be several miles inland.
Tyler Lyson of Yale University and the Marmarth Research Foundation, along with Yale researcher Nicholas Longrich, analyzed more than 300 fossils representing more than half a dozen dinosaur species from Western Canada, Montana, Wyoming and surrounding areas.
"We're using what palaeontologists usually throw away when excavating the fossils as clues to where these different species spent most of their time," Lyson said.
Tyrannosaurs rex appears to have roamed both habitats, most likely feeding on large herbivores.
The study also shows that the dinosaurs had specialized eating habits and likely fed on different types of plants found in each environment, Longrich said.
"It also emphasizes the importance of recording data about the rock in which fossils are preserved, which can give us important clues as to the paleoecology of these animals," Longrich said.
The findings appear in the online edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (ANI)