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Dinosaurs had wild sex rituals like birds, mammals: Study

Dinosaurs had wild sex rituals like birds, mammals: Study

A new research by Martin Lockley, professor of geology at the University of Colorado, Denver, has revealed that dinosaurs engaged in mating behavior that was similar to modern birds and mammals. The fossil evidence was seen in 100 million year old rocks.

Since times immemorial, stronger mates have outrivaled weaker mates and females have always chosen males that appear more promising than others.

The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group).

The international research team was led by Lockley, who is a paleontologist. The team discovered large 'scrapes' in the prehistoric Dakota sandstone of western Colorado. The display arenas, also called 'leks' were found in two National Conservation Areas (Dominguez-Escalante and Gunnison Gorge) on property permitted by the Bureau of Land Management near Delta, Colorado.

Other area where Lockley discovered evidence of mating is Dinosaur Ridge, a National Natural Landmark, just west of Denver.

The scrapes were found to correspond to a typical kind of behavior known as 'nest scrape display' or 'scrape ceremonies' among modern birds. Males reflecting this behavior express their ability to provide by excavating artificial nests for probable mates.

Lockley further added that this is the first time that sites with evidence of dinosaur mating display rituals have ever been discovered. These sites also reflect the first physical evidence of courtship behavior. These scrapes have also led to filling in a missing gap in understanding of dinosaur behavior for researchers.

The area where these scrapes have been discovered has also confirmed tracks of herbivorous and carnivorous tracks. Lockley, who is an expert on dinosaur footprints, stated that the team has found evidence of more than 50 dinosaur scrapes, some as large as bathtubs.

The new fossil found supports theories about the nature of dinosaur mating displays and the evolutionary driver known as sexual selection.

This sexual selection behavior is seen in birds and mammals and until now scientists could only guess about dinosaur mating behavior. They only assumed it to be like those of modern birds.

Image credit: Dailymail.co.uk

Dinosaurs had wild sex rituals like birds, mammals: Study