Dinosaurs DIDN'T rule the earth: The huge creatures 'actually lived in water' - and their tails were swimming aids
We know huge dinosaurs once roamed the Earth - but their little feet and huge bulky tails don’t look ideal for getting around.
A Cambridge scientist believes he has the answer – claiming that dinosaurs actually lived in water.
The creatures would have spent most of their time splashing through lakes between 15ft and 30ft deep, and their huge tails helped them swim.
A new theory claims that dinosaurs weren't land animals - they lived in water to support their weight, and their huge tails were swimming aids
Scientists have found many dinosaur footprints, but there are few tail marks - and one expert claims that the reason is that dinosaurs held their tails aloft as they splashed through water
He says thinking of them as aquatic creatures explains everything, and means a major reassessment of the ‘Jurassic Park’ idea of them roaming grassy plains.
Brian Ford, a cell biologist, believes this explains why archaeologists have unearthed dinosaur footprints for the dinosaurs, but there is no sign of tailmarks as if they wasted large amounts of energy holding their tails in the air.
In a radical theory, he believes the tails were a swimming aid as large dinosaurs spent most of their time paddling in lakes around 15ft to 30ft deep and their footprints made in the muddy depths, then dried up.
He believes this explains why many of them – which weighed up to 100 tonnes only had two little legs - whereas today’s largest animals, the elephant and rhinoceros, have four.
He says thinking of them as aquatic creatures explains everything, and means a major reassessment of the ¿Jurassic Park¿ idea of them roaming grassy plains
It also explains why their tails are ‘proportionately massive’, he says, while elephants and rhinos have tiny tails.
Ford, who has laid out his theory in science magazine Laboratory News, said: ‘I am now certain that the dinosaurs were primarily aquatic creatures.
‘They have a large and bulky body with a huge and muscular tail which would be better used to propel and steer a swimming dinosaur.
‘Dinosaurs are usually depicted standing in a vast arid plain, but I believe the scene was actually a shallow lake in which the water supports the weight of the animals. They evolved when the world was largely covered in shallow lakes, and the mud at the bottom of them eventually formed layers of Liassic limestone.
Brian Ford, a cell biologist, believes this explains why archaeologists have unearthed dinosaur footprints for the dinosaurs, but there is no sign of tailmarks
‘When you think of it like that, it all makes sense. The bulky muscular tail would have been impracticable as depicted in the conventional images and the abundant fossil footprints do not show tail dragging.
‘They used the water to support their mass, buoy up their tails, regulate their temperature and provide a habitat for their food. All the research, all the Hollywood films, the artwork, everything need to be revised.’
Some large dinosaurs such as the spinosaurus were known to eat fish, while most other large dinosaurs were leaf-eaters apart from the carnivore T-Rex.
During the dinosaur era 55 million years ago, the Earth was much hotter and he believes the pools would have been a balmy 37C.
However Dr Paul Barrett, a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London said the theory does not stack up.
He said: ‘This idea was very popular from around the 1920s, but since the 1960s we have demonstrated with the help of engineering work on load-bearing structures, that dinosaurs had more than enough muscle strength in their legs to get around easily on land. They were engineered for it.
‘You run into more problems when you put them into water as they would have had trouble breathing, and would have been slow to move around in squelchy mud. They may well have lived near water or gone into it sometimes to cool off, but I just don’t buy the theory that they lived in it.’
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