Dinosaur footprints in China: the discovery and its importance

Source: The post is based on the article “Dinosaur footprints in China: the discovery and its importance” published in Indian Express on 9th August 2022.

What is the News?

Scientists have discovered over 4,300 dinosaur footprints in Hebei province of Zhangjiakou in northern China.

About Dinosaur Footprints in China 

This is the largest number of footprint fossils found in one spot in the country.

The footprints show four different dinosaur species, one of which might be undiscovered.

The footprints belong to herbivores and carnivores dinosaurs. This area may have attracted dinosaurs due to the availability of water and trees at the time.

How did the dinosaur footprints become fossils?

Preserved footprints also known as ichnites, are trace fossils that have survived millions of years. These are found in earthen materials that were soft enough to form the foot impression and hard enough to retain it. 

Over time, the material dried, hardened and was covered with layers of sediment, helping the impression become fossilized. In numerous instances, soil erosion is now bringing these fossils to the surface.

Note: In India, in 2014, footprints dating back 200 million years were found in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

What do dinosaur footprints tell us?

The dinosaur footprints can denote the activity of an animal when it was alive.

It can not only reflect dinosaurs’ living habits and behaviour but also explain the relationship between dinosaurs and their living environment at the time.

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