Graphic shows key findings regarding the discovery of herd living dinosaurs.


Earliest evidence of herd living in dinosaurs

By Jordi Bou

October 21, 2021 - Fossilised remains of 193 million-year-old sauropods indicate that Mussaurus patagonicus lived in herds, providing the earliest evidence of complex social behaviour among dinosaurs.

A team of palaeontologists led by Diego Pol, head of the science department at the Egidio Feruglio paleontology museum in Argentina, discovered the fossilised skeletal remains of 69 individuals and 100 eggs belonging to the species Mussaurus patagonicus in the Laguna Colorada Formation in Patagonia.

The authors identified age-specific clusters of juveniles and adults, indicating that M. patagonicus lived in herds throughout their lives but primarily associated with others of their own age within those herds.

The eggs were discovered in clutches of 8-30, arranged in 2-3 layers within trenches, suggesting they were contained in nests within a common breeding ground.

Analysis of the rocks surrounding the fossils suggests that the remains are approximately 193 million years old, pre-dating previous records of complex social behaviour among dinosaurs by over 40 million years.

PUBLISHED: 21/10/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Nature, Jorge Gonzalez, CONICET