Megalosauripus footprints that date from 142 million years ago were discovered on a beach in Germany. The fossilized footprints could help scientists understand what type of dinosaurs lived in nowadays’ northern Germany. The findings were presented at the European Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists which took place on July 10 in Opole, Poland.
Besides Germany other footprints dating from around 140 million to 145 million years ago were also found in other European countries such as England and Spain.
The tracks indicate that one of the dinosaurs was small and the other was bigger. It seems that they were walking at a slow pace, probably strolling. The tiny footprint showed nearly 9.7 km per hour and the bigger one 6.3 km per hour. The scientists were even able to determine the fact that the smaller dinosaur was trotting at some point probably in order to keep up with the bigger dinosaur.
According to Pernille Troelsen from the University of Southern Denmark taking into account the fact that carnivorous dinosaurs run faster than 40 km per hour the leisurely pace of the dinosaurs whose these footprints belong to is slow. Troelsen also explained that the animals most likely skidded probably because of the fact that they slipped on the wet sand.
However for now it is not clear whether the megalosauripus footprints were made at the same time. Troelsen remarked:
They may be many years apart, in which case it maybe reflects two animals randomly crossing each other’s tracks. We can also see that a duckbill dinosaur (Iguanodon) has crossed their tracks at one time or another, so there has been some traffic in the area.”
The signs indicate that the two dinosaurs were social animals since previous research suggests that some dinosaur species were indeed social animals: they hunted together or the adults took care of the younger dinosaurs. In this case the little dinosaur seems to have sometimes crossed its legs probably because it lost balance, because an interesting prey caught its attention or because he wanted to keep up with the bigger dinosaur. According to the researchers this may be a sign that the two dinosaurs were social animals: the bigger one could have been a parent and the smaller one an infant.
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