90 million year old dino tracks found on resort island

07/15/04

During fieldwork conducted throughout the month of June, an international team of Canadian and Croatian paleontologists and geologists, led by Dr. Michael Caldwell of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and Mr. Jakov Radovcic of the Croatian Museum of Natural History in Zagreb, found 90 million year old dinosaur tracks and trackways on the island of Hvar, Croatia.

The tracks belong to giant long-necked dinosaurs called sauropods, and more specifically, the last of the giant sauropods, the majestic titanosaurs.

The tracks of these giant dinosaurs were made while they walked side by side, along the shore of the ancient Tethys sea that covered what is now southern Europe more than 90 million years ago.

The largest trackway found so far consists of a dozen or more tracks made by at least three dinosaurs. The paleontologists found footprints made by the front and back feet of the dinosaurs. This information is important for estimating how fast the dinosaurs were walking and how big they were by measuring the distance between their footprints.

Originally, Caldwell and Radovcic went to the island of Hvar to search for fossils of marine lizards and snakes. Fossils of these animals were first found more than hundred years ago on the island of Hvar and were studied by D. Gorjanovi-Kramberger of the Croatian National Museum and Kornhuber from Vienna. The goal of the project was to find more lizard fossils and to study the 90 million year old rocks of Hvar to learn more about the ancient environments in which they were deposted, and in which the animals lived. While the team of paleontologists did not find any fossil lizards, they did find other fossils, and of course, they found the dinosaur trackway.

The international team of scientists explored the Cretaceous rocks of Hvar with financial assistance from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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