Saturday, 23 January 2010

Dinosaur Footprints Become A Death Trap?

A new study suggests that three pits filled with dinosaur fossils unearthed in a remote part of China, are actually the preserved footprints of a much larger dinosaur.

These mysterious pits held the skeletons of nearly two dozen small dinosaur species and scientists have discovered that the animals were piled up in a mixture of volcanic mudstone and sandstone.  As the holes were not to have been believed to be a natural part of the landscape, it is thought that the pits were created by the feet of a massive sauropod dinosaur called Mamenchisaurus wandering across the landscape.

At some stage in the Jurassic, erupting volcanoes showered the area with ash and this ash created a semi-solid film over pockets of molten volcanic mud.  The gigantic dinosars feet would have left holes that quickly backfilled with liquid mud.  With the holes not being visible, much smaller dinosaurs would have fallen through and become trapped in the mud, and it is believed that the therapods would have had a harder time trying to get themselves out as they only used their back legs to move.

To read the whole news article, click here

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