Scientists have discovered over 4,300 dinosaur footprints in Hebei province of Zhangjiakou in northern China. This is the largest number of footprint fossils found in one spot in the country.
- The largest number of dinosaur footprint fossils located in northern China, these cover an area of 9,000 square metres. According to news reports, the footprints show four different dinosaur species, one of which might be undiscovered.
- The footprints belong to herbivores and carnivores dinosaurs; while the former could reach lengths of nearly 15 metres, the latter was four to five metres. Scientists believe the 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 fossilised. In numerous instances, soil erosion is now bringing them to the surface.