Using a 3D scanner, the scientists determined that the tracks were made by sauropods – large, long-necked, four-legged herbivorous dinosaurs. According to Lida Xing, a paleontologist at the China University of Geosciences, who led the team that investigated the site, it is likely that these traces were made by the species. Titanosauriformes.
Discoveries shed light on the day the dinosaurs died
The footprints are about 22 inches long on average, and the dinosaurs were likely about 26 feet long and weighed more than 2,000 pounds, Sheng told the Washington Post.
Although not an everyday occurrence, the discovery of dinosaur footprints occasionally occurs in China – just not in urban environments.
“Sauropod tracks are not rare in the Sichuan Basin… but they are very rare[ly] Found in downtown restaurants,” Xing said in an email. “Most of the time, the city ground is either plants or cement.”
But this wasn’t the first accidental discovery of dinosaur remains in recent years.
Take, for example, the case of Mark McMenamin, who was walking across the University of Massachusetts campus at Amherst last year. He and his wife collected stones at a construction site, and later noticed that one of them looked like a fossil.
It was, in fact, the elbow bone of a 30-foot-long predatory dinosaur known as a Neotheropod. Newsweek reports that McMenamin, professor of geology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, estimated that the Jurassic fossil dates back to between 145 million and 200 million years ago.
Then a well-preserved “carcass” of a dinosaur was discovered, discovered by miners in Canada. While excavating the Suncor Millennium mine in Alberta in 2011, they found the fossilized remains of Nodosaurus, an armored creature dating back about 110 million years, according to National Geographic.
First displayed in 2017, it is considered one of the best preserved dinosaur fossils ever. The remains were so complete that scientists at the Royal Terrell Museum in Alberta were able to examine the contents of her stomach, including twigs, leaves, algae, pollen and spores.
Last year, archaeologist Mary Woods was searching for clams on a beach in Yorkshire, England, when she discovered something unusual: the 165-million-year-old trail of a species of theropod. Dinosaur looks like a Tyrannosaurus RexThis ancient reptile was also standing on two legs and was carnivorous. The Good News Network reported that it was the largest fingerprint of its kind ever found in that part of England.
“All I wanted to do was get some oysters for dinner and accidentally ended up coming across this,” Woods told the website.
In 2011, paleontologists in China encountered a large rock with a fish fossil on its surface. They brought it back to the lab, where it stayed for about a year, according to New Scientist. Then the researchers decided to open it.
To their surprise, they discovered inside the remains of mother Ichthyosaur – a fish-like creature that swam in the oceans during the Mesozoic Era 252 to 66 million years ago – who gave birth to three children. One was already outside the womb, the other was halfway through, and the third was waiting for his chance.
This fossil discovery changed the view when dinosaurs began to give birth to a living, regressing the historical record by about 250 million years. Ichthyosaurs, which evolved from terrestrial creatures, have proven that dinosaurs moved from laying eggs much earlier than previously thought.
“This birth pattern is only possible if they inherit it from their ancestors on Earth,” one of the researchers told Live Science. “They wouldn’t do that if live birth evolved in water.”
Back at the restaurant in Sichuan Province, Xing and her team continue to study the accidental discovery of dinosaur tracks. The area where the sauropod footprints were observed was cut off so that curious diners would not accidentally injure it.
At first, the restaurateur was concerned that news of the primitive discovery would affect her business of making home-cooked meals based on the local cuisine. However, it has since embraced the media hype.
“She was initially concerned that it would attract too many curious people and influence the restaurant’s traditional customers,” Xing wrote. “But now she understands the change and is ready to come up with some dinosaur-themed treats.”