Sauropods: Over 200 fossilised dinosaur footprints found in China

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Image Credit: Steve Brusatte
Image Credit: Steve Brusatte

Beijing : More than 200 fossilised dinosaur footprints have been discovered in Maotai town of China, the media reported on Wednesday.

It is believed to be the largest cluster of Sauropod footprint fossils ever found in China dating from the early Jurassic period, Xinhua news agency reported.

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 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 fossilised 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. The new discovery was well preserved.

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