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72.5-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Footprints Discovered in Canada

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More than 100 footprints of hadrosaurid and tyrannosaurid dinosaurs preserved within the bank of the Redwillow River, located near the city of Grande Prairie in Alberta, Canada are recently discovered.

The 72.5-million-year-old dinosaur footprints were found around the Tyrants Aisle locality. It is in fact the largest area where the primitive Cretaceous Wapiti Formation of northwest Alberta and northeast British Columbia are marked.

The tracks are preserved with above 100 dinosaur tracks across a minimum of three distinct track-bearing layers. It means the region marking the margins of an ancient river system was once a pathway for assorted sets of dinosaurs.

The study was published online in the journal PLoS ONE. Nathan Enriquez, a Ph.D. student in the Palaeoscience Research Centre at the University of New England lead the study, he said,

“It was important that we carefully document this site while it is still available to us, the site is submerged by the Redwillow River for much of the year and is continuously eroded. By the time we found the site, much information had already been lost. Sadly, the tracks will eventually be lost to time.”

It seems that hadrosaurs abundantly wandered around the tracks at the Tyrants Aisle locality. The most enormous footprints measured 65 cm (25.6 inches) suggesting the gigantic size of the animal. It could be 2.6 m (8.5 feet) tall at the hips. According to the paleontologists, it was a species of comb-crested hadrosaurid dinosaur called Edmontosaurus regalis.

The presence of Tyrannosaurids is confirmed by a Tridactyl theropod-like footprint at Tyrants Aisle. The footprint measures greater than 45 cm (17.7 inches) in length. Some other smaller footprints belong to troodontid, ornithomimid, and azhdarchid pterosaurs.

Enriquez further stated,

“The best-preserved tyrannosaur track at the site measures almost 50 cm (19.7 inches) in length and, based on the age of these rocks, was possibly produced by Albertosaurus sarcophagus, an earlier relative of Tyrannosaurus rex,”