Toronto: Dismissing a common perception that dinosaurs were solitary, vicious monsters, researchers have found evidence that just like most modern animals, these gigantic creatures too loved company and they lived and died together in groups.
"The common mythology of dinosaurs depicts solitary, vicious monsters running around eating everything," said one of the researchers Gregory Funston from University of Alberta in Canada.
"Our discovery demonstrates that dinosaurs are more similar to modern animals than people appreciate," Funston noted.
"This evidence shows that dinosaurs were social beings with gregarious behaviour who lived and died together in groups," he added.
The discovery comes from a site in Mongolia, first encountered by paleontologists a decade ago. The site contained thousands of shards of destroyed bone, belying the telltale evidence of a previous discovery by fossil poachers.
After conducting additional field work, scientists discovered a bonebed with an assemblage of bird-like Avimimus dinosaurs, who were extremely rare prior to this discovery.
Though it is common knowledge that modern birds form flocks, this is the first evidence of flocking behavior in bird-like dinosaurs, Funston explained.
"With an assemblage like this, you can't really understand why the dinosaurs died together unless you see the field site," Funston said.
"We can tell that they were living together around the time of death, but the mystery still remains as to why," he added.
The findings on the bird-like dinosaur Avimimus from the late-Cretaceous period were published in the journal Scientific Reports.