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A cliff wall full of dinosaur footprints in Spain

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There’s a cliff wall full of 70 million year old dinosaur footprints in Spain’s Pyrenees mountains, just a 1.5 hour drive north from Barcelona. How are they on a rock face and not on the ground? How can we study these types of ancient fossilized tracks?

rock wall with dinosaur footprints
In this episode of Jurassic CSI, Walk Like a Dinosaur, Dr. Phil Manning, head of Paleontology Research Group at University of Manchester, joins paleontologists from The Catalan Institute of Paleontology as they climb down the former mud plain to measure the extremely fragile footprints of these “hulking 60-ton titanosaurs” by hand.

measuring the footprint
climbing the rockface
They then use long range LiDAR 3D scanning to capture the rock face and later calculate the animals’ dimensions, how fast they might have walked, and more.

How were the footprints made? An animation demonstrates how these flat-footed titanosaur prints would have formed deep in the region’s swampy mud 17 million years ago.

“Tides and storms washed layers of mud into the fresh tracks, protecting them from the elements. Over millions of years more mud and sand covered the footprints and compressed them into solid rock. Then the earth moved over millions of years. The African tectonic plate collided with Europe, giving birth to this mountain range, and the ancient mud plane went high-rise taking the titanosaur trackways with it.”

dino track
Here’s a Catalan News Agency video for more info, some Jurassic CSI Facts, and in the archives: more dinosaur vids, including 3D scanning and Printing Dinosaurs.

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