A major discovery about dinosaurs could upend conventional thinking about where they came from to begin with, and how they evolved.
A groundbreaking new study out of the University of Cambridge has just come to an astonishing conclusion that could totally change how we think about the great lizards. Researchers think they’ve found evidence that rather than being born in the Southern Hemisphere, as is conventional wisdom, the very first dinosaurs came out of the Northern Hemisphere, and specifically from Scotland.
The study, which was published in the journal Nature, indicates that dinosaurs may have evolved from the Saltopus, a small animal that lived in Scotland eons ago. It’s an important discovery not just because it tells us that they came from a dramatically different place and through a different evolutionary tree, but they also came about 15 million years earlier than scientists have believed.
Scientists observed the bone structure of these dinosaurs and realized they seem to have some inconsistencies when compared to conventional wisdom on how they evolved, leading to the breakthrough.
Lead author, Matthew Baron, says:
“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.”