Fossil tracks in Spain reveal growth patterns of dinosaurs

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An international team is studying the growth patterns of dinosaurs using their ancient footprints in the Las Sereas de Quintanilla de las Viñas fossil beds in Spain’s northern Burgos province, where many traces of the prehistoric animals are found.

Fossil tracks in Spain reveal growth patterns of dinosaurs

The director of the Salense Archaeological-Paleontological Collective, or CAS, Fidel Torcida, told EFE that the deposits being studied contain well-preserved fossilized dinosaur tracks that CAS has been uncovering and examining since 2009.

Torcida said that the tracks found at the deposits have “peculiar characteristics” and archaeologists are working on the description of a new type of sauropod, given that there are anatomical aspects to the footprints “that differ from others” that are known so far.

Sauropods were huge plant-eating, four-legged dinosaurs with necks having 10 or more cervical vertebrae and a long tail.

The CAS chief said that, in addition, since they are dealing with a very large deposit, at least 3.1 miles in length, experts are finding tracks of different sizes, a situation that enables them to study the evolution and growth of this prospective new sauropod who lived some 144 million years ago, at the transition from the Jurassic to the Cretaceous periods.

He said that the small tracks archaeologists are studying have similar characteristics to the larger tracks. “They occupied the same site and moved by at the same time,” enabling conclusions to be drawn about the lives of members of the species.

Torcida said that there are things that can only be determined from the fossilized bones of the animals, but – in his opinion – the importance of dinosaur tracks should not be forgotten in rounding out the information.

He also said that experts have “years of work” ahead of them at the site and are collaborating with specialists from different fields, but he added that conservation efforts need to continue at the site to guarantee the best conditions for the ongoing work.

Source: EFE via Fox News [Fenruary 02, 2015]

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