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Paths of Argentine dinosaurs

Description of claw impressions is consistent with fossils from the same region

RIGA ET AL., JOURNAL OF SOUTH AMERICAN EARTH SCIENCESDescription of claw impressions is consistent with fossils from the same regionRIGA ET AL., JOURNAL OF SOUTH AMERICAN EARTH SCIENCES

Fossilized dinosaur tracks and trails imprinted on stone in the province of Mendoza, Argentina, are helping Argentine and Brazilian researchers better understand the animals that inhabited that region around 85 million years ago, in the Upper Cretaceous period (Journal of South American Earth Sciences, August 2015). The tracks were found in regions where the mud surrounding rivers and lakes was petrified over time, preserving indirect evidence of the presence of these animals. The group led by Bernardo Riga from the National University of Cuyo, Argentina, with the participation of Brazilian paleontologist Roberto Candeiro from the Federal University of Goiás, identified a total of 330 well-preserved tracks, composed of six different types of footprints, in different geological formations. In the Anacleto Formation, a fossiliferous layer in the Neuquén region near the border with Chile, the researchers found 20 tracks of titanosaurian sauropods – gigantic animals with long necks and tails, small heads, and feet with enormous claws that served as their only defensive weapon. The preserved tracks included impressions of these claws, whose description is consistent with that of two fossilized skeletons recently found in the same region. According to the researchers, this is the first time that fossilized titanosaur tracks have been corroborated by comparison with fossilized skeletons.