Many dinosaurs packed suitcases and left Europe, study finds

New analysis of fossil records suggest that large groups of dinosaurs left Europe hundreds of millions of years ago.

Story highlights

  • Mass dinosaur exodus out of Europe happened during early Cretaceous Period, scientists say
  • This migration happened after the world's continents split apart

(CNN)More than 100 million years ago, something curious happened.

Massive herds of dinosaurs started fleeing Europe, and scientists are not sure exactly why.
    Evidence of a large-scale migration was discovered by scientists at the University of Leeds while using a global database of fossil records to understand the dinosaur diaspora.
      Scientists found that some dinosaurs, unique to Europe during the early Cretaceous Period, were found in other parts of the world, suggesting these creatures migrated in a large exodus, according to findings published Monday in the Journal of Biogeography.
      For the first time, scientists used network theory to illustrate how these prehistoric creatures moved around the globe during the Mesozoic Era. The method is commonly used to quantify Internet data, such as a person's social connections on Facebook. It was during this analysis that scientists unearthed the dinosaur migration out of Europe.
      Scientists believe this migration happened after the continents started splitting apart, about 200 million years ago. The findings back other theories that suggest dinosaurs started moving around the world after Earth's supercontinent Pangaea broke apart.
      This is important because it shows that dinosaurs were similar to animals that live on our Earth today, lead study author Alex Dunhill from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds told CNN. "Give a species half the chance, it will expand its geographic range and invade a new ecosystem," he added.