Bird-pelvised dinosaurs were among the first social animals

Researchers from the Institute for Evolutionary Research in Johannesburg and the Natural History Museum in

excavations in South Africa discovered "bonebed" formed from many parts of Lesothosaurus skeletons, moved and stacked together. Fossil analysis suggests that Lesothosaurs lived in herds that roamed the ancient supercontinent of Pangaea.

During the excavations carried out from 2009 to 2015year, researchers discovered the remains of at least 17 Lesothosaurs that were buried together at about the same time. The researchers note that until recently, these dinosaurs were considered quite rare animals in these ecosystems. The high concentration of remains in one place, scientists believe, confirms that they moved in herds.

The researchers believe that life in the herd helpedthese dinosaurs to defend themselves from predators, as is the case with modern animals. Group interaction reduces the risk of a surprise attack, in addition, a large herd seems more intimidating to predators.

Fossilized remains of a Lesothosaurus. Image: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

By examining fossilized bones, scientists have also been able torestore the behavior of these animals. Analysis showed that Lesothosaurus grew rapidly until it reached reproductive maturity. Thereafter, between the ages of two and four, he put more energy into reproduction than into growth.

Lesothosaurus is one of the first ornithischian species.dinosaurs that spread at the beginning of the Jurassic period. It was a relatively small bipedal dinosaur compared to some of its descendants, and was about 2 m long. The researchers note that the discovery of social behavior in these primitive ornithischians makes them the very first social dinosaurs.

Cover image: Jack Wood, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Read more:

The largest migration in the history of the Earth will affect all living organisms on the planet

Astrophotographers have collected a detailed photo of the Moon from 200 thousand images

Nearly half of cancer cases linked to preventable risk factors