Jurassic Park had good intentions. Had the fictional endeavor not ended in catastrophe and rainy dinosaur chases, it would have been an amazing time capsule that transported visitors to a completely different time in our planet's history. Although that type of place isn't possible (yet, because who knows?), there's an area on the coast of Australia that's known as "Australia's Jurassic Park" due to the quantity and diversity of dinosaur footprints on the 15-mile stretch. It is there that, recently, a team of paleontologists from the University of Queensland in Brisbane discovered the largest dinosaur footprint we have yet to lay eyes on (via Gizmodo).
The print is about five feet and nine inches long, and is believed to have been made by some sort of sauropod (a long-necked dino like a brontosaurus or a brachiosaurus). The team's research was recently published in the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and the findings also include 21 types of dinosaur tracks all in that area.
"The tracks provide a snapshot, a census if you will, of an extremely diverse dinosaur fauna," Steve Salisbury, the study's lead author, told Gizmodo. "Twenty-one different types of dinosaurs all living together at the same time in the same area. We have never seen this level of diversity before, anywhere in the world. It’s the Cretaceous equivalent of the Serengeti! And it’s written in stone."
Although we don't know for sure what creature produced this gigantic a print, we can at least appreciate how huge sauropods were. For instance, the brontosaurus was up to 72 feet long and weighed up to 15 tonnes. Meanwhile, Argentinosaurus, another sauropod and one of the largest known dinosaurs, is estimated to reach lengths of 115 feet long and weights of 100 tonnes.
That's the weight of about 20 elephants. So, the takeaway from today's science lesson: Dinosaurs were big, and so were their feet.
Featured image: DiBgd
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