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Dinosaurs lived underwater, British scientist claims

Dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous

This speculative illustration of the late Cretaceous of North American landscape shows dinosaurs occupying different environments. Hadrosaurs and Thescelosaurus largely occupy environments near river channels, Triceratops occupies environments further away from the river channels, and Tyrannosaurus rex occupies both environments.Nicholas Longrich

Dinosaurs were too big to have roamed the earth and must have lived in water, a British scientist controversially claimed Tuesday.

Professor Brian J. Ford, an independent research biologist, told scientific magazine Laboratory News that the prehistoric creatures could not have supported their own huge frame and cumbersome tails on two legs alone.

Ford believes that the prehistoric creatures evolved in shallow water and lived in an aquatic environment to support their weight.

"Every time you see these images, they are always the same," Ford wrote at Laboratory News. "These huge dinosaurs crunching across arid deserts holding these huge tails erect as they are looking around for prey. It makes no sense."

'These huge dinosaurs crunching across arid deserts holding these huge tails erect ... it makes no sense.'

- Biologist Brian J. Ford

"Just imagine that the landscape was water -- it suddenly makes sense," he added. "This huge tail is buoyant, floating in the water. It becomes a swimming aid. Suddenly his environment is sympathetic to him."

Ford said the fact that archaeologists rarely find tail marks along with dinosaur footprints supports his theory, because the creatures' muscular tails were aiding their movement through water, rather than being dragged along the ground.

Dr. Paul Barrett, Dinosaur Researcher at London's Natural History Museum, disputed the idea that dinosaurs ruled the waters, rather than the earth.

"Decades of research have shown conclusively that dinosaurs were exceptionally well-adapted for life on dry land," Barrett told NewsCore.

He added, "Many features, such as footprints, the structure of the legs, arms, and backbone, dinosaur nests, and dinosaur gut contents, all show that they spent most of their time on land and could hold their colossal bodies up without the need for them to be bobbing about in prehistoric swamps."