Over 240 Fossilised Dinosaur Prints Discovered in South-eastern China

Everything Dinosaur team members have received several media reports from Chinese news agencies about the discovery of an extensive series of dinosaur tracks in Fujian Province (south-eastern China).  The dinosaur track site was uncovered in Shanghang County and covers approximately 1,600 square metres.  The tracks and individual prints were made around 80 million years ago (Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous) and they represent the first dinosaur trace fossils to have been found in Fujian Province.

Field Team Members Examine and Map the Dinosaur Tracks

Extensive dinosaur tracks uncovered in China.

Chinese field team members examine and map the numerous dinosaur tracks and prints uncovered in Fujian Province.

Picture credit: CFP

The Tracks of at Least Eight Different Types of Dinosaur

Extensive track sites such as this are exceptionally rare, early indications from the field team mapping the prints are that at least eight different types of dinosaur are represented.  The three-toed prints of ornithopods and the large, more rounded prints of sauropods have been identified.  The various media channels have also reported both large and small theropod prints including prints around thirty centimetres in length made by a large, bird-like member of the Deinonychosauria, a raptor that has left distinctive two-toed prints, as the second toe was raised off the ground as it possessed a large, curved sickle-like claw.

Running with Second Toe Raised Off the Ground

The second toe claw of Velociraptor.

A model showing the raised second toe held off the ground as a member of the Deinonychosauria (Velociraptor) runs.  Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Xing Lida, from the China University of Geosciences and a member of the research team has stated:

“Judging from the size of the footprints, which were eight to fifty-five centimetres long, lengths of the dinosaurs range from one metre to ten metres.”

The site is under the stewardship of the local authorities in order to protect this important discovery and to deter any would-be fossil hunters who might be tempted to remove any prints for sale on the black market.  The site contains at least 240 individual dinosaur prints.

Two of the Dinosaur Prints from the Shanghang County Site

Dinosaur tracks discovered in Fujian Province.

Two dinosaur prints from the Fujian Province site.  The research team estimate that the tracks represent lakeside activity from around 80 million years ago.

Picture Credit: CFP

Dinosaur Tracks Alongside an Ancient Lake

The tracks were made as dinosaurs visited an ancient lake, the various prints and trackways being preserved in the soft mud on the lake margins.

Senior palaeontologist and former curator at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum (Sichuan Province) Peng Guangzhao, explained that the researchers were optimistic about finding more fossils.  The team are hopeful that more tracks, bones or even dinosaur eggs could be discovered in Fujian Province in the future.