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Fossilized dinosaur footprints discovered in Southwest China

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-16 16:05

GUIYANG -- More than 200 fossilized dinosaur footprints have been discovered in Maotai township, a town famous for China's top alcohol brand, Kweichow Moutai.

It is believed to be the largest cluster of Sauropod footprint fossils ever found in China dating from the early Jurassic period. Sauropods were a group of huge, plant-eating, four-footed dinosaurs with long necks and tails.

"The tracks were discovered by accident," said Xing Lida, a dinosaur footprint expert with China University of Geosciences.

In the summer of 2013, workers in Maotai Township in Southwest China's Guizhou province found a group of dents, which looked like footprints, on the surface of a huge rock when building a workshop. They did not know what they were.

This summer, when workers saw media reports of dinosaur footprint fossils found elsewhere, they contacted researchers and a team of paleontologists came to the site.

Xing said the fossilized footprints were left by Sauropods more than 170 million to 180 million years ago.

Several clusters of Sauropod footprint fossils had been found previously in China, though some contained few fossils and others had been severely eroded by wind. The new discovery was preserved well.

"It can help with research on biological migration, behavior and evolution of these ancient creatures in the early Jurassic period," said Xing.

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