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Footprints of Strongest Carnivorous Dinosaurs Living in Early Jurassic Discovered in Chongqing

By JIEYU WANGICHONGQING|Jun 03,2020

A string of “chicken paw prints” discovered by rock climbers at Sharen Bomb Shelter in the east of Gele Mountain National Forest Park in Chongqing in March 2019 was identified by a team of paleontologists organized by Chongqing Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau as footprints of theropod dinosaur of Lower Jurassic Zhenzhuchong Formation living on the earth 190 million years ago.

A staff of No.208 Geological Team, Geological Heritage Protection Research Institute, is depicting dinosaur tracks on site.

The study was jointly completed by Xing Lida, Associate Professor of China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Dai Hui, Senior Engineer of No.208 Geological Team, Geological Heritage Protection Research Institute, Chongqing Bureau of Geology and Minerals Exploration, and Wei Guangbiao, Research Fellow of Chongqing Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources.

The sketch of dinosaur tracks in Gele Mountain National Forest Park in Chongqing.

The latest results of the study, introduced in The Early Jurassic Kayentapus Dominated Tracks from Chongqing, China, have been published in Historical Biology, a well-known British SCI journal. The study confirmed that the dinosaur footprint found in Chongqing is Kayentapus, and it can be classified into the type species–Kayentapus hopii, which is the best-preserved Jurassic Kayentapus group in Asia.

Sinosaurus reconstruction photo.

The team said the trace was most likely left by Sinosaurus. With two crowns on its head and a body length of 5.6 meters and a weight of up to half a ton, Sinosaurus was a fierce large carnivorous dinosaur.

The footprints, found on the surfaces of two quartz sandstones about three meters apart, contained 46 three-toed theropod tracks, the team said.

The discovery not only enriches the record of Kayentapus in China and even in Asia, but also further proves that the footprints of the lower Jurassic dinosaurs in Asia and around the world were theropod dominated with a consistent diversity of track morphotypes, which is of great significance for studying the distribution and evolution of early Jurassic dinosaur fauna in China.

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