Home » A Diner Accidentally Finds 100 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Footprints In A Chinese Restaurant

A Diner Accidentally Finds 100 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Footprints In A Chinese Restaurant

by Coffee Table Science
Recently something exciting happened in the history of science when a diner discovered footprints of dinosaurs on the stone floor of a Chinese restaurant where he was dining, NPR reported. When the concerned authorities were called, they found that the footprints belonged to Sauropods, the largest dinosaur species that were extinct 100 million years ago.

Image Credits: NPR

What are Sauropods?

Sauropods are herbivorous or plant-eating species of dinosaurs known for their giant size. They had long necks and tails accompanied by short heads. By the late Jurassic Period, approximately 150 million years ago, Sauropods were common on all continents, except cold areas like Antarctica. Interestingly, most of their fossils have been found in the Asian regions, including China, Mongolia, Thailand and India. 

Where did Sauropods go?

Sauropods became extinct in the late Cretaceous period, nearly 66 million years ago. At the end of this era, an asteroid impact destroyed the fate of all dinosaurs, including Sauropods. During this period, not only the dinosaurs but 75 percent of the earth’s creatures, especially animals, lost their lives. However, the ultimate cause of the extinction is not just the asteroid crash. Before this, the earth was experiencing changes, including global warming due to volcanic eruptions, continent drifts, earthquakes, etc. 

How were the footprints found?

To investigate the footprints, palaeontologists arrived at the site. Dr Lida Xing was one of the palaeontologists called to investigate. His team used a 3-D scanner to analyze the shape and size of the footprints. He told the Washington Post that the footprints were 0.55 meters (22 inches) long on average, which implied that the dinosaur must have weighed more than 900 kgs (2000 pounds) and measured about 7.9 meters (26 feet) tall.

Image Credits: Pixabay

“All these dinosaurs hatched out of eggs that were about the size of a grapefruit. So they were kind of like popcorn to the carnivores of their time,” said Riley Black, a palaeontologist and science writer. “Their whole game plan, evolutionarily speaking, was to eat a whole bunch of plants and get big as fast as possible.” 

According to Xing, Sauropods tracks are common in the Sichuan basin, a sedimentary basin in China, but they are rare in residential areas like restaurants in downtown where industrialization has evolved. Further, Black added that this type of “scientific co-incident” reminds us that we are still living with dinosaur remains.  

“Even sometimes when I go on walks around Salt Lake City, a lot of the sidewalks that we have out there are made from early Jurassic sandstone. And I haven’t seen a dinosaur in there yet, but you’ll see little tracks made by proto-mammals and scorpions and spiders that were crawling all over these sand dunes. So there’s really a whole sort of urban palaeontology.” 

Though finding footprints might not sound as cool as discovering fossils, this discovery gives a glance into how the largest dinosaur species lived. 

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