Rabat – Scientists have discovered dinosaur tracks in Morocco that prove some dinosaur species used migratory routes between Morocco and Europe. An article published in October’s issue of the Journal of African Earth Sciences explains the findings.
The study reveals that researchers found identical footprints of Theropods, flesh-eating dinosaurs, from the Late Jurassic period (between 163 and 145 million years ago) in Morocco, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland.
The findings prove that Theropods were globetrotters, following migratory routes between the supercontinents of Gondwana and Laurasia, specifically between today’s North Africa and Europe.
“How did the dinosaurs pass between Laurasia and Gondwana? The answer is problematic because there was a deep sea between the two continents,” explained the article’s co-author Diego Castanera from the Miquel Crusafont Catalan Institute of Palaeontology in Barcelona.
The study calls into question accepted geographical theories that there was a sea between Gondwana and Laurasia in the Jurassic period.
The recently discovered tracks belonged to two species; “Megalosauripus transjuranicus” and “Jurabrontes curtedulensis”
“On the one hand, we have identified a type of large and slender footprints with a size of 30-50 cm and, on the other hand, other gigantic and robust footprints measuring more than 50 cm,” said Castanera.
Researchers used a type of software called DigTrace to study the different footprints.
“We can’t determine with certainty what animal left a particular footstep since different related dinosaurs could leave very similar footprints. However, our findings indicate that the fossilized footprints belonged to Allosaurus and Torvosaurus,” added Castanera.
In recent years, a number of studies have shown that today’s Morocco was a habitat for some of the most ancient species.
In March 2018, researchers found the oldest nuclear DNA from Africa, dating to approximately 15,000 years ago in eastern Morocco.
Just two months ago, paleontologists discovered bones of a Stegosaurus dinosaur in Morocco’s Middle Atlas mountains. The findings were the oldest Stegosaurus bones ever found, estimated to be around 168 million years old.
Researchers also made an “unprecedented” discovery in Morocco’s Anti-Atlas mountains this month. The paleontologists found skulls and a complete skeleton from a Phoebodus, an ancient shark that lived 350 million years ago.