The first evidence that dinosaurs roamed East China’s Fujian has been discovered in preserved fossilised footprints.
A team of Chinese palaeontologists has identified more than 240 fossilised dinosaur footprints in east China’s Fujian Province, the first traces of dinosaur activity found there.
The scientists reported that the fossilised dinosaur tracks, a landmark discovery in the province’s dinosaur research has ended the assumption that “no dinosaurs” had ever lived there, according to the Global Times on Tuesday.
The dinosaur track site covering an area of about 1,600 square meters, is the largest and the most diverse such site discovered in China dating back to the Upper Cretaceous period, (100.5 million years ago – 66 million years ago).
The discovery was made on November 7, 2020.
So far, more than 240 dinosaur tracks from at least eight species have been recovered from the muddy siltstone.
The 80-million-year-old tracks were left by at least eight types of dinosaurs, including sauropods, large and small theropods and ornithopods, scientists said at a news conference held in Fuzhou, the provincial capital, on Tuesday.
Most of the dinosaur tracks are well preserved, with clear patterns that reflect their behaviours such as walking speed.
“Judging from the size of the footprints, which are 8 to 55 centimetres long, lengths of the dinosaurs range from 1 meter to 10 meters,” said Xing Lida, a member of the research team and associate professor at the China University of Geosciences.
It is also the first time that China discovered a large Deinonychus from the fossil site, Xing said.
Geological analysis of the site, which was well preserved when discovered, suggests dinosaurs had been eating and drinking along a lake, the scientists said.
The discovery is of great significance for the study of the paleo-environment, paleogeography and paleo-ecology of the Late Cretaceous about 80 million years ago, as well as the distribution and evolution of the global dinosaur fauna in the Late Cretaceous, according to the research team.
Dinosaur fossils, including bones, footprints and eggs, have only been found in Tianjin, Shanghai, Fujian, Hainan, Qinghai and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Island in China.
Local officials said the site is under strict protection and surveillance while authorities carry out long-term plans to further discover and preserve the fossils.
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