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Dinosaur footprints 100 million years old were found in a Chinese restaurant

The footprints were preserved by pure chance: the owner of the place liked the way the untreated stone looked and fit into the interior.

Usually paleontologists find dinosaur remains in sparsely populated and remote regions. But on July 10 this year, Ou Hongtao, a resident of the million-dollar city of Leshan, Sichuan province in south-central China, made an important discovery by chance: in the yard of a local restaurant where he was dining, the man discerned more than ten dinosaur tracks from the Jiaguan Formation of the early Cretaceous.

According to the Global Times article, this is the first evidence of the existence of “ancient lizards” within the borders of Leshan itself (incidentally, only five kilometers from the world’s largest stone statue of a sitting Buddha).

Lida Xing, an associate professor at China University of Geosciences in Beijing, and Peng Guangzhao of the Zigong Dinosaur Museum confirmed, based on 3D modeling and other analysis techniques, that the deep prints found in the restaurant courtyard were left by two brontosaurus of the sauropod family – giants with very long necks and tails, but small heads and legs resembling poles compared to the body.

About 100 million years ago, these sauropods lived near the riverbank while the rest of modern Sichuan Province was undergoing a period of drought.

Now part of the courtyard of the restaurant has been fenced off, and the tracks and the surrounding terrain will continue to be carefully studied. In general, and they have survived only thanks to the owner of the institution – he liked the look of the untreated stone, so no serious alterations were made to the floor.

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