Did dinosaurs know how to swim?

Did dinosaurs know how to swim?

The waters of the Mesozoic era, as we know, were inhabited by very disreputable creatures. In addition to the types of predators that we can find, more or less, still today, seas and lakes of that period were also inhabited by a large and varied array of reptiles adapted to aquatic life, some of very considerable size, which however, they were not part of the superorder of dinosaurs. But the actual dinosaurs, were they capable of swimming, given the size reached by some of their species?

The possibility of any animal to have any chance of being able to swim, is mainly due to its body density, even before its own size. Dinosaurs have shown that they can also reach monstrous sizes, but their average density was actually no different from that of today's organisms, including humans. This factor, definitely not insignificant, would have allowed most of the dinosaur species that have appeared on our planet, whether they were agile theropods or heavy sauropods, to be able to float keeping their heads above the water.

According to Asier Larramendi, a researcher who conducted a study recently published in The Anatomical Record, trying to get the most precise idea possible of the body density of dinosaurs could help to better understand the distribution of the various species in the territory, adding information useful on their ability to swim, and therefore consequently on the reason why some of them were successful or not successful in parts of the territory separated by important bodies of water.

For some dinosaurs, the closest experience to a swim would have been going for a drink, while others would have no problems whatsoever crossing a body of water during migrations or escaping to safety case of sudden floods. These data can help to better understand the behavior of animals, as in the case of the group of tyrannosaurs who died all together, perhaps due to a flood, the discovery of which suggested that these animals hunted in packs, and were therefore not solitary predators like it was previously believed.

Every creature must have a body density no higher than that of water. The density of the water is 1.0. the average density estimated for the prehistoric carnivores relatives of the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex (of which you can buy a suggestive reproduction at this link) reached about 0.95. Heavily armored dinosaurs such as Triceratops or Ankylosaurus, which possessed a much higher density, would have drowned in a flood, which explains why so many of them have been found in sorts of "mass graves", or entire herds. surprised by a sudden flood, which left them no escape. Surprisingly, the body density of some species of gigantic sauropods would have been even lower than that of an ordinary human being.

Many sauropods had developed long necks, functional for reaching the leaves on the leaves. treetops that were out of reach for many smaller herbivores. Although pneumatic bones, i.e. hollow like those of today's birds, are often associated with avian dinosaurs, their presence in sauropods has allowed dinosaurs such as Diplodocus to develop huge necks, precisely because the presence of hollow bones allowed their enormous necks to be extremely light. Both sauropods and theropods have also developed air pockets otherwise known as diverticula. These would take up space in most of the bone cavity, replacing the connective trabeculae and making the basic bone structure incredibly light.

Relatively lighter skeletons than they might seem, they were probably a plus for swimming skills. of these animals. This feature, combined with others such as the long hills of some species, greatly favored the ability to cross flooded areas or bodies of water, confirming once again the extreme adaptability of dinosaurs to the environment in which they lived.

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