A new study indicates that dinosaurs may have been social creatures as researchers have found the fossilized footprints of two theropods that walked together on a German beach about 142 million years ago.
One of the marks left in the sand was considerably bigger larger than the other, leading Pernille Troelsen, study researcher and former biology student at the University of Southern Denmark, to theorize that the pair may have been parent and child.
The larger footprint measured 34.4 by 36.4 centimeters (or 13.5 by 14.3 inches), and the smaller footprint only measured 23.5 by 23.5 centimeters (or 9.3 by 9.3 inches).
One of the most interesting things about the discovery is that the animals had a strolling pace. The larger dinosaur moved at 6.3 km / hour (3.9 mph), and the smaller dinosaur moved at 9.7 km / hour (or 6 mph). But these animals could have easily passed a speed of 40 km / hour (or 25 mph).
Troelsen said that the duo were members of a carnivorous, two legged species from the genus Megalosauripus. She believes that they were about the same size as Velociraptors and described them as being agile hunters.
Troelsen informed that the smaller dinosaur began to throttle at some point, with a likely explanation being that it had to keep up with its mom or dad. There were also moments when both dinosaurs skidded, a likely explanation being that they occasionally slipped on wet sand.
On top of this, the small dinosaur crossed its legs sometimes, however Troelsen was not entirely sure why. One possible explanation is that the animal lost its balance, another is that it saw an interesting prey it considered worth chasing, and another possible explanation is that it may have had trouble keeping up with the large dinosaur.
It’s worth mentioning that other studies have also suggested that dinosaurs were social animals. This may also reinforce the theory that they were warm-blooded rather than cold-blooded or a hybrid of the two.
Several field experts have theorized that dinosaurs used to hunt together and organize dinosaur “daycares” where adults cared for several young dinosaurs, not just their own offspring.
However, Troelsen could not say if the two footprints from her study were made at the same time, of if they are several years apart. Though the coincidence is a little too big and a little too random to be taken seriously, the fact remains that the researcher could not prove either of the scenarios.
Image Source: ibtimes.com