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Over 400 Cretaceous dinosaur footprints discovered

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-29 09:43
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More than 400 dinosaur footprints from the early Cretaceous period have been discovered in the Chuxiong Yi autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Yunnan province, researchers said.

The fossils were found in the mountains in Konglongshan, a town in the city of Lufeng. On-site determination has indicated that the rock strata containing the dinosaur footprints date back approximately 120 million years, said Wang Tao, head of the dinosaur fossil protection and research center in Lufeng.

Wang said the fossils can be classified into three types: large footprints resembling those of sauropods, such as diplodocuses; footprints resembling those of theropods, such as tyrannosaurs; and footprints with noticeable depressions at the front end, indicating that the dinosaurs walked with their toes touching the ground and possibly belonging to stegosaurs or ankylosaurs.

"Based on on-site observations, it is speculated that this area may have been located on the edge of a lake, surrounded by abundant vegetation," Wang said. "After various types of dinosaurs finished feeding, they may have come to the lake to drink water and stepped into the mud and sand at the water's edge."

Konglongshan, whose name translates to "dinosaur mountain", is a concentrated discovery area for fossilized dinosaur footprints. However, a discovery of such scale and variety is unprecedented, indicating the extensive presence of a diverse dinosaur population in the Lufeng area during the early Cretaceous period, Wang said.

Since 1938, over 120 dinosaur fossils have been excavated in Lufeng, yet none from the Cretaceous period had been discovered previously. Wang said the newly discovered dinosaur footprints are of significant importance to future efforts to locate dinosaur fossils from the Cretaceous period in the area.


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