Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An ancient hill where you can see thousands of dinosaur footprints

In Sucre, Bolivia, a limestone wall goes up at an angle above the ground, its surface criss-crossed with thousands of dinosaur tracks. It's the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world.

How did these 68 million-year-old prints wind up at this point?

The really strange thing is that the wall wasn't revealed until the mid-1990s, when workers from a close by cement factory saw it. According to Atlas Obscura:

It's indistinct how the wall went undiscovered for so long, as it is filled with more than 5,000 tracks made throughout the second half of the Cretaceous period about 68 million years ago.

There are so numerous tracks, really - and they're placed in such strange patterns - that scientists pass on to the area as a dinosaur dance floor.

So far, six distinct types of dinosaur prints have been recognized. One special track that measures 347 meters is the longest dinosaur trackway ever revealed and was made by a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex nicknamed "Johnny Walker" by some of the local researchers.

Eight other limestone walls with dinosaurs tracks have been establish in the region. Millions of years ago, when dinosaurs walked the earth, this area was part of a enormous shallow lake. The tectonic plate shifts throughout the Tertiary period that formed the great Andes Mountains also pushed some of these limestone walls out from the bed of the lake. The rock cliff measures about 325 feet high and juts into the sky at a 70 degree angle.

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