– Currently, the most common view is that dinosaurs first emerged around 237 million years ago on the ancient continent known as Gondwana.
A new controversial theory has been presented by scientists suggesting that first dinosaurs came from Scotland. The theory has already sparked controversy in the academic world. If the analysis is correct and the new dinosaur family tree is accepted, it would require the formal definition of dinosaurs to be re-written.
Scientists from the University of Cambridge have analyzed a Scottish specimen, called Saltopus, a very small, bipedal dinosaur from the late Triassic period which had five-fingered hands and a long head with dozens of sharp teeth.
According to their study published in Nature, the dinosaurs may have first emerged in the Northern Hemisphere rather than the South up to 15 million years earlier than previously thought.
“It may just be that dinosaurs originated in Scotland. This is obviously going to be met with some hostility from Southern American researchers,” Matt Baron, the graduate student who led the three-year project at the University of Cambridge, said.
This new theory is intriguing, but the study’s conclusions have been met with robust criticism from some rival scientists, including Max Langer, a respected palaeontologist at the University of São Paulo in Brazil.
“There’s nothing special about this guy,” he said. “Saltopus is the right place in terms of evolution but you have much better fossils that would be better candidates for such a dinosaur precursor.”
Originally, dinosaurs were put in two categories: bird-hipped such as the stegosaurus or lizard-hipped, like the T. rex.
The new study reveals that many dinosaurs in the two categories shared a lot more similarities than differences. If this I true, it means that some lizard-hipped dinosaurs need to be re-labeled.
The new classifications mean dinosaurs’ earliest ancestors were probably omnivorous and that that birds likely evolved from are grouped with bird-hipped dinosaurs. It also means the beasts may have originated almost 15 million years earlier than originally thought.
If the new findings are correct, the history of the dinosaurs must be re-written.