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Scientists confirm discovery of largest site of dinosaur tracks

By Yang Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-05 08:50

Paleontologists from home and abroad confirmed in a recently published essay that they have found the largest dinosaur tracksite ever discovered in China in Zhaojue, Sichuan province. The site covers an area of over 9,000 square meters, including at least 933 tracks. [Photo provided to China Daily]

From 2017 to 2019, paleontologists mapped the tracksite using drone technology, finding at least 933 recognizable dinosaur tracks, and the longest sauropod and ornithopoda tracks ever recorded in China, which measure 80 meters and 52 meters respectively. Some of the tracks exhibit the obvious change of the track makers' movement directions, providing behavior information.

The Zhaojue-II tracksite contains rich dinosaur tracks, including 61 trackways and seven isolated tracks, representing 68 track makers, of which 54 percent were ornithopoda.

Because the tracksites contain tracks of many different kinds of dinosaurs, it is important to the study of the living environment of dinosaurs in the Cretaceous Period, Peng says.

"There are also tracks that show dinosaur's special behavior, such as swimming or veering, which are helpful for the study of the behavior or the lifestyle of dinosaurs," he says.

Both Zhaojue-II and III tracksites contain paralleled ornithopoda trackways, suggesting the track makers' social or gregarious behavior.

Xing says there has been no Cretaceous dinosaur bone fossil discovered in Southern Sichuan Basin, so that the Zhaojue tracksites have provided great investigative samples for the study of dinosaur fauna in that region in the Cretaceous Period.

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