A remarkable new report from researchers out of the University of Cambridge could totally upend the dinosaur family tree.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have just come to a remarkable conclusion that could forever shakeup our understanding of the origin of dinosaurs: they’re actually British. Well, not exactly, as they obviously pre-date the existence of Britain, but they may have indeed originated in an area that is now the United Kingdom.
Scientific consensus held that dinosaurs originated from the Southern Hemisphere, not the Northern, but this new study claims that that may not be the case. The study, published in Nature, suggests dinosaurs may have first evolved from a small animal known as the Saltopus, which lived in Scotland, and would mean dinosaurs came to be 15 million years earlier than thought.
Scientists came to their conclusion by noting that their seemed to be inconsistencies in the bone structures based on how we believe that they evolved.
Lead author, Matthew Baron, said in a statement:
“When we started our analysis, we puzzled as to why some ancient ornithischians appeared anatomically similar to theropods. Our fresh study suggested that these two groups were indeed part of the same clade. This conclusion came as quite a shock since it ran counter to everything we’d learned.”
“The carnivorous theropods were more closely related to the herbivorous ornithischians and, what’s more, some animals, such as Diplodocus, would fall outside the traditional grouping that we called dinosaurs. This meant we would have to change the definition of the ‘dinosaur’ to make sure that, in the future, Diplodocus and its near relatives could still be classed as dinosaurs.”