Evidence of early Jurassic dinosaur tracks found in SW China

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-02 17:37:20|Editor: huaxia

CHONGQING, June 2 (Xinhua) -- A discovery of chicken paw-shaped footprint fossils, found last year in a forest park frequented by locals in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, has been confirmed as dinosaur footprints left 190 million years ago.

In March 2019, a rock climber stumbled across the footprints at Geleshan National Forest Park, 16 km away from downtown Chongqing. After an investigation, scientists from the Beijing-based China University of Geosciences, together with researchers from local geological departments, identified the dinosaur tracks as Kayentapus, which were probably made by large and medium-sized theropod (meaning beast feet) dinosaurs dating back to the early Jurassic period.

According to scientists, the dinosaur tracks were found to be 46 theropod footprints in total, indicating that the trackmakers were trotting.

The findings were presented in an online article published by the British Journal of Historical Biology in late May.

Co-author Dai Hui, an engineer with the Chongqing 208 Academy for Geological Heritage Protection, said the footprints of Kayentapus are distributed globally. In North America, they were made by Dilophosaurus, one of the first large flesh-eating dinosaurs during the early Jurassic period and also the star dinosaurs in Hollywood movies.

In southwest China, the trackmaker was probably the Chinese Jurassic dinosaur, which had two crowns on its head, with a body length of about 5.6 meters and a weight of up to half a tonne. It was a fierce, large dinosaur at the time.

The discovery has added to the records of Kayentapus in China and Asia, and it can help people understand the distribution and evolution of dinosaurs in the early Jurassic period, according to Dai. Enditem