A diner accidentally discovers dinosaur footprints in a restaurant in China

A diner accidentally discovers dinosaur footprints in a restaurant in China
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A diner sitting in the outdoor courtyard of a small restaurant in China’s Sichuan province happened to look down and saw something unusual. It looked like a dinosaur footprint.

Two weeks ago, Chinese paleontologists confirmed that the diner was right. The depressions were actually left by two dinosaurs when they roamed the area about 100 million years ago.

Using a 3D scanner, scientists determined that the pieces were made by sauropods — large herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and four legs. According to Lida Xing, a paleontologist at the China University of Geosciences who led the research team at the site, these footprints were likely made by the species. Titanosauriformes.

The discoveries shed new light on the day the dinosaurs died

Xing told The Washington Post that the footprints average about 22 inches long, and the dinosaurs were about 26 feet long and weighed more than 2,000 pounds.

Although not an everyday occurrence, finding dinosaur footprints occasionally occurs in China—just not in urban environments.

“Sauropod tracks are not uncommon in the Sichuan Basin, but they are very rare[ly] found in downtown restaurants,” Xing said in an email. “Most of the time, the ground in the city is either vegetation or cement.”

But this was not the first accidental discovery of dinosaur fossils in recent years.

Take, for example, the case of Mark McMenamin, who toured the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst last year. He and his wife collected stones at a construction site, and later noticed that one of them was a fossil.

It was actually the ulna of a 30-foot-long predatory dinosaur. neopod. McMenamin, a geology professor at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, estimated the Jurassic fossil to be between 145 million and 200 million years old. news week informed.

A well-preserved dinosaur “body” was later unearthed by miners in Canada. In 2011, while excavating the Suncor Millennium Mine in Alberta, they came across the fossilized remains. nodosaurusaccording to a heavily armored creature from about 110 million years ago National Geographic.

First unveiled in 2017, it is considered one of the best-preserved dinosaur fossils ever found. The remains were so complete that scientists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta were able to examine the contents of its stomach, including twigs, leaves, moss, pollen and spores.

Last year, archaeologist Marie Woods was searching for mussels on a beach in Yorkshire, England, when she spotted something unusual: a 165-million-year-old footprint of sorts. theropod. a dinosaur-like Tyrannosaurus rex, this ancient reptile also stood on two legs and was a carnivore. It was the largest footprint ever found in this part of England Good News Network.

“All I wanted to do was have some shellfish for dinner and I came across this,” Woods told the website.

In 2011, paleontologists in China encountered a large rock with a fish fossil on its surface. They returned him to the laboratory, where he sat for about a year New Scientist. Then the researchers decided to crack it.

To their surprise, they discovered the remains of a mother ichthyosaur — a fish-like creature that swam in the oceans during the Mesozoic era, 252 million to 66 million years ago — gives birth to three babies. One was already out of the womb, one was halfway there, and the third was waiting for his chance.

This fossil discovery pushed back the historical record by about 250 million years, changing the idea of ​​when dinosaurs first came alive. Ichthyosaurs, which evolved from land-dwelling creatures, proved that dinosaurs switched to egg-laying earlier than previously thought.

One of the researchers said: “This way of birthing in the land is possible only if they inherited it from their land ancestors.” living science. “If live birth had evolved in water, they wouldn’t have.”

Back at the restaurant in Sichuan province, Xing and his team continue to study the accidental discovery of dinosaur tracks. The area where the sauropod footprints were observed is fenced off so that curious diners do not accidentally harm them.

At first, the restaurant owner was concerned that news of the initial discovery would affect his business, which serves home-style meals based on local cuisine. However, he bought into the media hype.

“He was initially concerned that it would attract too many curious people and affect the restaurant’s traditional clientele,” Xing wrote. “But now he understands the change and is ready to spread some food about dinosaur tracks.”

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