A hundred million years ago, a wee stegosaur plays on its back foot in present-day China.
The footprints of this cute kitten from the file Cretaceous period It was discovered in Xinjiang, a territory in northwest China. At just 2.25 inches (5.7 centimeters) long, it is the smallest Stegosaur print ever seen, the authors reported on March 3. In the journal Palaios.
The place where the small prints were found are also large footprints from Stegosaur, a group of herbivorous dinosaurs that included the genus Stegosaurus – Average length of about 11 inches (29 cm) at the hind feet and approximately 5.3 inches (12.7 cm) on the fore feet, with a small, distinctive three-inch-shaped posterior footprint of the Stegosor It’s not clear what species the footprints belong to. But the skeletal remains of a species called Wuerhosaurus homheni Was found in the area The breed is known for its immature bones. But from those scientists who knew it had the iconic back that Stegosor was famous for.
“like StegosaurusThis little dinosaur likely had a spike on its tail and a bone plate on its back when it was fully grown. “Anthony Ramilio, co-author of the Dinosaur Lab at the University of Queensland.” Said in a statement.
Possible tiny stegosor footprints have been found before, although they actually belong to the real Stegosaur babies, this is controversial. Small track It was found near Morrison, Colorado, in rocks since the Jurassic period (199 million to 145 million years ago), but some paleontologists do not agree that these footprints are fossils, University paleontologist Marin Lockley. Colorado Denver said those prints were merely pieces of deformed mud buried in sandstone.
Unlike the large tracks at the Xinjiang site, the smaller tracks did not stretch.This was interesting to researchers, as it suggested that the baby stegosaur might not be as active as an adult.
“Stegosors typically walk with their heels on the ground just like humans. But the four sides create a long footprint, ”says Romilio.“ The little rails show how this dinosaur moved with its heels off the ground like a bird or a cat today. Dinosaur walking on two legs “
Lida Xing, co-author of the study, Lida Xing, a paleontologist at the Chinese University of Geosciences in Beijing, said it was possible that the baby would walk on a four-foot post.
“These little footprints, complete sets, will give us the answer to this question. Unfortunately, we only have one footprint, ”Xing said in a statement.
Originally published in Live Science.