Sunday, 16 March 2014

Cold-Loving Arctic Dinosaurs Found

Joel Kontinen

Dinosaurs were not supposed to thrive in the far north, beyond the Arctic Circle. However, a new study published in PLoS ONE reports on the discovery of several dino fossils in Alaska.

According to Nature news,

High above the Arctic Circle, along an Alaskan river, palaeontologists have unearthed fossils of the first known tyrannosaur species at either pole. The new animal comes from so far north that it is named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, after the Inupiat word for polar bear (nanuq).”

The researchers assume that the Arctic must have been warmer then than it is now, but they nonetheless think that the winters were cold. They believe “that relatives of Tyrannosaurus rex survived and even thrived in extreme polar environments, some 70 million years ago.”

Anthony Fiorillo, co-author of the recent PLoS ONE paper, is a palaeontologist at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. He says:

Both Troodon [another meat-eating dino found in the Arctic] and Nanuqsaurus would have had to cope with extreme seasonal swings. At the time they existed, Alaska was located at least as far north as today, although temperatures were warmer overall. The Arctic landscape would have experienced huge pulses of biological productivity every summer, followed by a bleak winter. Each species would have adapted in its own way to this changing environment.”

This is not the first time polar dinosaurs made news. Following discoveries of dino fossils in Alaska, in 2008 a Nova programme was entitled Arctic Dinosaurs.

Camel fossils have also been found in the Polar region.

The most logical explanation for the discovery of tropical and sub-tropical animals in the Arctic is the global flood of Noah’s day. It very probably washed the animals into an area where they did not usually live.

Moreover, it is very likely that the pre-Flood world was warmer than today’s world.


Witze, Alexandra. 2014. Diminutive dinosaur stalked the Arctic. Nature news (12 March).