First evidence that dinosaurs roamed East China's Fujian found in preserved footprints
Published: Jan 12, 2021 10:28 AM

Scientists study dinosaur footprints. Photos: Courtesy of Xing Lida

Chinese scientists say they have found fossilized dinosaur tracks in Shanghang, East China's Fujian Province, a landmark discovery in the province's dinosaur research and ending the assumption that "no dinosaurs" had ever lived there, the Global Times learned from researchers on Tuesday. 

The best preserved dinosaur footprints were from a diverse group of late cretaceous dinosaurs, Xing Lida, an associate professor from the Beijing-based China University of Geosciences, told the Global Times. The discovery was made on November 7.

The Fujian footprints were earlier than those in Ganzhou in East China's Jiangxi and Heyuan in South China's Guangdong provinces. They are more diverse than the late cretaceous footprints found in Northeast China's Heilongjiang, East China's Anhui, Zhejiang, South China's Guangdong, Southwest China's Yunnan, Sichuan provinces, he said. 

Scientists study dinosaur footprints. Photos: Courtesy of Xing Lida

So far, more than 240 dinosaur tracks have been recovered from the muddy siltstone, including at least eight species. Most of these dinosaur tracks are well preserved, with clear patterns that reflect their behaviors such as walking speed. It is also the first time that China discovered a large Deinonychus from the fossil site, Xing said.

The discovery is of great significance for the study of the paleo-environment, paleogeography and paleo-ecology of the Late Cretaceous about 80 million years ago, as well as the distribution and evolution of the global dinosaur fauna in the Late Cretaceous, according to the research team. 

Dinosaur fossils, including bones, footprints and eggs, have only been found in Tianjin, Shanghai, Fujian, Hainan, Qinghai and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan island in China. 

Global Times