Dinosaur footprints dating back almost 100 million years have been found in Argentina.
Officers of the Argentine Naval Prefecture patrolling a reservoir in Argentina found the footprints during a routine patrol of the shore of Lake Ramos Mexia, in the municipality of Villa El Chocon, in the western Argentina province of Neuquen.
The three-toed dinosaur tracks are believed to belong to a bipedal dinosaur that lived between 96 and 100 million years ago.
The remains were in a remote and difficult to access area known as Punta Lote, and were only discovered due to the remarkably low levels of water of the artificial lake that supplies the El Chocon hydroelectric dam.
Pictures and video of the footprints were sent to CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Research Council) researcher Juan Canale, and director of the Paleontologic Lab of the Municipal Paleontology, Archaeology and History Museum, Ernesto Bachmann.
After studying the dinosaurs gait the scientists were able to establish that the prints are tridactyls footprints caused by a medium- to large-sized bipedal dinosaur that was around six meters (16 feet) long and three meters (10 feet) tall, which they gagued by the distance between the footprints, giving them it’s gait as it walked through the area.
The prints lie in the Candeleros Formation, a 300m (984 feet) deep layer of sedimentary rock which is rich in fossils and prints as the earth easily moulded to- and retained the footprints of dinosaurs.
The Candeleros formation was formed during the Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous period, between 96 and 100 million years ago.
“It was an area with a lot of rivers, a lot of trees and warner than nowadays”, Canale commented to Real Press.
The area where the remains were found is full of other footprints, but from smaller carnivorous dinosaurs, also from herviborous long neck dinosaurs and some flying reptiles, the telosaurios.
But the remains found by the officers are for sure a walk of an unique animal, but “there must be more footprints from other animals in the area”, Canale reported.
Scientists believe that the footprints belong to a Limay Ichnus or an Iguanodontia, but they still need to confirm it with further study.
“This animal must have passed through this part and stepped mud that turned into a fossil”, Canale reported to Real Press and added that those footprints in the mud were later covered by sand or sediment or mud in order to protect them and preserve them from wind, rain or other animals. The mud turned into fossil with the years, he explained.
“Every discovery is important, but we need to do some studies in the place, measure the form, size, distance among the footprints and then the information will be evaluated, but of course, these footprints will give a lot of information”, Canale said to Real Press.
He also commented that it is clearly not a TRex dinosaur as that kind of dinosaurs species lived in North America. The species has not been discovered yet.
This area where the discovery was done is very important because there are remains and fossils of dinosaurs all around, in any kind of rock, the expert said and added that there is another place in Argentina with a big amount of remains but not like in El Chocon, as they are better preserved.
The area will be evaluated by experts who will decide what is best to preserve the remains, to check what kind of rock they are on, and to find out if it is possible to move it away.
Argentina has yielded a lot of incredible dinosaur finds this year.
In May 2020, paleontologists from the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences found the vertebrae, ribs and part of the chest and hip of an unidentified carnivorous dinosaur that was around 10 meters (33 feet) long and 70 million years old in the southwestern area of the province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina.
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