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Thursday, February 5, 1998 Published at 05:01 GMT


Frozen dinosaur backs Antarctic land-bridge theory
image: [ Did dinosaurs once roam Antarctica? ]
Did dinosaurs once roam Antarctica?

The fossilised remains of a duck-billed dinosaur and an ancient bird have been found in Antarctica, boosting theories that the continent was once linked to modern day America.

[ image: Ducks: Ancestors stalked Antarctica]
Ducks: Ancestors stalked Antarctica
Scientists from the US and Argentina say the 70 million year old fossils are the first of their kind to be found on the continent.

The fossils were discovered early last week on Vega Island south of Argentina on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Researchers found part of a four centimetre long (two inches) bird claw and a tooth from a juvenile hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur. The creatures are similar to other finds in North and South America.

The discovery supports theories that North America, Australia and Antarctica had a land bridge, say scientists from Argentina's National Antarctic Institute.

[ image: Penguins: Less scary than a dinosaur]
Penguins: Less scary than a dinosaur
One theory is that marsupials originated in the Americas and travelled over what is now frozen Antarctica to Australia, where they flourished.

Previous expeditions to Antarctica have uncovered evidence of water-based creatures but the hadrosaur is the first evidence of a land-based creature.

The dig was financed by the US National Science Foundation, the Antarctic Institute and St. Mary's College in California.

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Introduction to the Hadrosaur

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