Dinosaur footprints dating back 100 million years were recently discovered in a rather unusual place: on the floor of a restaurant. A diner in southwest China spotted what they believed to be footprints in the stone floor, and their suspicions were later confirmed by a team of researchers.
Food Instagrammers catch a lot of flack for snapping their meals, but it seems there can be some perks to taking a moment to appreciate your surroundings before face-planting into your dinner. Using 3D scanners, a team confirmed the imprints were left by sauropods, plant-eating dinosaurs that grew to enormous sizes.
The enormous size of the footprints led researchers to estimate that the dinosaurs that left them were around 8 meters (26 feet) long, reports USA Today. The prints will now remain safely tucked behind fencing in the restaurant courtyard.
Beyond making for great between-courses conversation, the discovery of the footprints contributes toward what some palaeontologists are calling “a fossil renaissance” in China, reports NPR, as new and exciting finds are being uncovered more frequently.
Fossil finds have been more difficult to come by historically as the country underwent extensive development, palaeontologist Dr Lida Xing – who worked on the sauropod footstep discovery – told Phys.org. As a result, Xing and colleagues now make an effort to visit new finds within 24 hours so that no opportunities for further investigation are lost.
It's been a strong year for sauropod discoveries too. A diplodocid named “Dolly” revealed interesting insights into sauropod sickness back in February, as signs of wear and tear on its long neck indicated the animal may have had a cold in life. The sauropod sniffles, if you please.
Prehistoric Planet also demonstrated the bobble-popping air sacs that are thought to have enabled sauropods to hold up their long necks. However, it seems having lung wannabes mixed among your skeleton wasn’t all good, as they presented another opportunity for sickness to take hold.