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Dinosaurs evolved frills and horns to attract mates: Study

Selection makes many organisms evolve different attributes for sex. For example, peacocks maintain elaborate tails and fruit flies perform dances

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Dinosaurs' faces
Dinosaur. Wikimedia
  • The dinosaurs evolved frills and thorns to attract mates
  • Researchers found this especially true for the species Triceratops and Styracosaurus
  • These are called as ornamental traits

The elaborate frills and horns of a group of dinosaurs including Triceratops and Styracosaurus might have evolved to attract mates, not as a mechanism to recognise each other as earlier believed, says a study.

It has been suggested that different species that live in the same location may evolve features in order to distinguish one another to help avoid problems such as hybridisation, where two individuals of different species produce infertile or unfit offspring.

The specimens reveal that primitive mammals glided in air.
Dinosaurs evolved frills to attract males. Pixabay

To test this hypothesis the researchers from Queen Mary University of London examined patterns of diversity in the ornamentation of 46 species of ceratopsians, the horned dinosaurs, but found no difference between species that lived together and those that lived separately.

A previous research paper from the same university found that the frill in one ceratopsian species, Protoceratops, may have evolved under sexual selection. The new findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, appear to add evidence to this across the entire group.

“If sexual selection is indeed the driver of ornament evolution in ceratopsians, as we are increasingly confident it is, demonstrating it through different lines of evidence can provide a crucial window into tracing its effects over potentially huge time-scales,” said lead author of the new study Andrew Knapp.

Also Read: Fossil of Patagotitan Discovered in Argentina: The Heavyweight Champion of all Dinosaurs weighs 76 Tons

Selection makes many organisms evolve different attributes for sex. For example, peacocks maintain elaborate tails and fruit flies perform dances. The researchers also found evidence that ornamental traits seemed to evolve at a much faster rate than other traits.

“We have shown that species recognition, one of the commonest explanations, is unlikely to be responsible for the diversity or origin of ornamentation in this group,” Knapp added. IANS

Next Story

Dinosaurs Once-in A Lifetime Fossil Saved from Australian Floods

Steve Poropat, a paleontologist at Swinburne University in Melbourne says the footprints were saved from recent monsoonal flooding in Queensland.

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Fossils
A small dinosaur fossil is seen in this undated handout photo from Australian customs. The largest-ever haul of illegally exported fossils was formally handed back from the Australian Government to the Chinese Government during a ceremony in Perth, Sept. 30, 2005. VOA

A team of Australian paleontologists and volunteers has saved a once-in a lifetime fossil discovery from devastating floods in Queensland state.

The dinosaur tracks give a rare insight into an ancient world. Found on an outback farm near the Queensland town of Winton, 1,100 kms from Brisbane, they are estimated to be almost 100 million years old.

The footprints are stamped into a large slab of sandstone rock, and were made by a sauropod, a giant creature with a long neck and tail, and by two smaller dinosaurs. Some of the footprints are up to a meter wide and come from the Cretaceous period.

Scientists were alerted to the danger posed to this remarkable collection when it was partly damaged by severe flooding last year.

For three weeks scientists and volunteers worked to carefully dig up and relocate the dinosaur tracks.

fossils
Scientists were alerted to the danger posed to this remarkable collection when it was partly damaged by severe flooding last year. Pixabay

They are being stored at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum in Winton, where they will eventually go on display.

David Elliott is the museum’s executive chairman.

“We really want to preserve the integrity of the tracks. We do not want to just tear them up and go and lock them on the ground somewhere. You know, they have to be done a certain way. We cannot just leave it here because that is, you know, [a] find of a lifetime.”

Dinosaur tracks are rare in Australia.

Steve Poropat, a paleontologist at Swinburne University in Melbourne says the footprints were saved from recent monsoonal flooding in Queensland.

“The imperative was to get those soft footprints out of the ground because they just would not have lasted in another flood now that they have been fully exposed. To get it all out of the ground, to ma

fossils
The dinosaur tracks give a rare insight into an ancient world. Found on an outback farm near the Queensland town of Winton, 1,100 kms from Brisbane, they are estimated to be almost 100 million years old. Pixabay

ke sure that it is safe from future floods is fantastic,” he said.

 

Monsoonal rains in Queensland have caused chaos, flooding hundreds of homes and drowning several hundred thousand livestock. Officials said it was a one-in-100-year event, and they have warned it could take years to rebuild the local cattle industry.

Also Read: Frequent High-Tide Flooding May Affect Coastal Communities’ Economy

As the floodwaters recede on land, they are polluting parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Experts say plumes of polluted water are stretching up to 60 kms from the coast, putting more pressure on coral that has suffered mass bleaching in recent years. When ocean temperatures increase, corals can expel the algae that live in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white.

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s greatest natural treasure and stretches 2,300 kms down Australia’s northeast coastline. (VOA)