Polar dinosaurs on parade: A review of dinosaur migration

Phil R. Bell, Eric Snively

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Cretaceous polar dinosaur faunas were taxonomically diverse, which suggests varied strategies for coping with the climatic stress of high latitudes. Some polar dinosaurs, particularly larger taxa such as the duckbill Edmontosaurus Lambe, 1917, were biomechanically and energetically capable of migrating over long distances, up to 2600 km. However, current evidence strongly suggests many polar dinosaurs (including sauropods, large and small theropods, and ankylosaurs of New Zealand) overwintered in preference to migration. Certain groups also appear more predisposed to overwintering based on their physical inability (related to biomechanics, natural history, or absolute size) to migrate, such as ankylosaurs and many small taxa, including hypsilophodontids and troodontids. Low-nutrient subsistence is found to be the best overwintering method overall, although the likelihood that other taxa employed alternative means remains plausible. Despite wide distribution of some genera, species-level identification is required to assess the applicability of such distributions to migration distances. Presently, such resolution is not available or contradicts the migration hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-284
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Alaska
  • Albian
  • Aptian
  • Australia
  • Campanian
  • Cretaceous
  • Dinosaur Cove
  • Endothermy
  • Migration
  • New Zealand
  • Polar dinosaurs


Dive into the research topics of 'Polar dinosaurs on parade: A review of dinosaur migration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this