In 1960, the discovery of ornithopod dinosaur footprints from Svalbard was received as a sensation because they constituted the first indisputable evidence that dinosaurs had inhabited the polar latitudes. Later, in 1976, tracks of a medium-sized theropod were discovered at a second locality in the same formation at Kvalvågen, eastern Spitsbergen. These two records, together with a find from Kempendajay, Siberia, were isolated discoveries until the late 1980s and polar environments were not considered of further importance for dinosaur research. However, this has since changed, and in the last 20 years, more than ten arctic areas have yielded both skeletal remains and footprints of dinosaurs, ranging from the late Jurassic to late Cretaceous in North America, Siberia and Svalbard, demonstrating that the finds of dinosaurs at polar latitudes were not isolated phenomena.
During the 2001 SVALEX excursion to the Festingen locality at Isfjorden, and later with the SVALSIM group mapping in April 2002 of the Festningen sandstone, Helvetiafjellet Formation (Early Cretaceous, Barremian), several new dinosaur tracks were discovered on the same escarpment as the 13 footprints found in 1960. Based on superficial resemblance, the latter were identified as belonging to Iguanodon but have since been considered to belong to a different, although related, ornithopod dinosaur. Unfortunately all of the tracks discovered in 1960 have since been lost due to erosion by the sea. A description of these new dinosaurtracks was undertaken in 2004 and 2005.
Hurum, J.H., Milàn, J., Hammer, Ø., Midtkandal, I., Amundsen, H. & Sæther, B. 2006. Tracking polar dinosaurs - new finds from the Lower Cretaceous of Svalbard. Norwegian Journal of Geology 86, 397-402.
Morten Bergan, Jørn Harald Hurum, Reidar Müller, Johan Petter Nystuen & Nicole Klein. 2006. A late Triassic (Rhaetian) dinosaur bone, offshore Norway. NGF Abstracts and Proceedings, no. 3, 41-42
Hurum, Jørn H., Johan Petter Nystuen, Morten Bergan, Reidar Müller. 2006. Norges første - og verdens dypeste - dinosaurfunn. Geo 4:46-47.
PublishedSep. 14, 2015 1:46 PM
- Last modifiedApr. 12, 2022 8:26 AM