The largest number of dinosaur footprint fossils have been discovered in Northern China, according to a scientific announcement made in the first week of July. The Chinese scientists have discovered over 4,300 footprints in the Hebei province of Zhangjiakou, Northern China, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
The footprints, which were 9,000 square metres in size, were made during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, almost 150 million years ago, the outlet said, quoting researchers. The footprint fossils also comprise of claw prints and were first discovered in April 2020. They were later arranged closely together.
Scientists can quantify the length, weight, and size of dinosaurs from their footprints, as well as infer their walking speed, reported China Daily. The footprints can also reveal intriguing hints about these extinct animals’ existence.
Xing Lida, a dinosaur expert from China University of Geosciences told China Daily, “The footprints not only reflect dinosaurs’ living habits and behavior, but also explain the relationship between dinosaurs and their living environment at the time.”
The prints belong to four different dinosaur species, none of which have been named. One of the fossils, according to the experts, may be of a species that hasn’t yet been discovered.
The collection of these footprints contains both herbivores and carnivores. The herbivores reaching lengths of over 15 metres while the carnivores were smaller, measuring about four to five metres, SCMP further said.
Due to its abundance of water and trees at the period of the dinosaurs, the scientists hypothesised that the region may have served as a magnet for dinosaurs. The region is now a high, stony grassland with few vegetation.