100-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Footprints Found at Restaurant in China

Dinosaur footprints dating back 100 million years have been discovered in Sichuan province in China after a diner found them in a restaurant’s outdoor courtyard.

Lida Xing, a paleontologist and associate professor at the China University of Geosciences, said that many stone pits at the restaurant in Sichuan province contained dinosaur footprints.

Xing’s research team confirmed the discovery of the dinosaur footprints on Saturday using a 3D scanner.

Sauropods are known for their long necks and tails and could grow to the length of three school buses, and were so heavy that the ground must have shaken as they walked.

Xing said the two sauropods who left the footprints probably measured about 8 meters (26 feet) in body length.

“It’s rare to find fossils in the city because they were all covered by buildings,” he said.

Before it was a restaurant, the location was used as a chicken farm, where the dinosaur footprints were buried beneath layers of dirt and sand, shielding them from erosion and weather damage.

Xing said that the dirt was removed almost a year ago when the restaurant opened, and the owner liked the natural look of the uneven stone, so the owner left it untouched instead of leveling it with cement.

“If it were 10 years ago, nobody would send me photos of suspected dinosaurs (fossils or footprints). But now, I get quite a few from normal citizens, and I confirm several dinosaur footprints every year,” Xing said. 

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