NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 13 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they can learn a lot about where dinosaurs lived by looking not at their fossilized bones but at the rocks in which the bones were found.
Researchers say they believe Triceratops avoided rivers, duck-billed dinosaurs lived near rivers, and T. Rex was everywhere, probably because the beast went wherever there was meat, LiveScience.com reported Tuesday.
“We can use the rock enclosing these fossils as clues to what they were up to,” paleontologists Tyler Lyson at Yale University said. “We’re using what paleontologists usually throw away when excavating the fossils as clues to where they’re spending most of their time.”
The 180 Triceratops skeletons they examined were mostly seen in mudstone laid down on floodplains in the coastal lowlands of North America, while the 80 duck-billed dinosaurs known as hadrosaurs were most commonly found in sandstone laid down in rivers.
“It makes sense these different herbivores are spatially separated — if you look at modern times, white-tailed deer hang out by rivers while mule deer are by the plains,” Lyson said.
The 45 T. Rex skeletons the researchers investigated, though, showed no particular preference for one environment over the other.
“That makes sense — as the sole large carnivore in this time and place, it would go to wherever meat was,” Lyson said.
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