IFLS: Heads up! Scientists have discovered the prehistoric footprints of a colossal dinosaur on the roof of a cave in France. Nope, this doesn’t mean that giant dinosaurs were dancing on the ceilings of caves like a sticky-footed Spiderman, although it goes to show the wealth of prehistoric discoveries that could be found lurking in the geology all around us.
Recently reported in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, researchers from the University of Burgundy–Franche-Comté discovered the three dinosaur trackways during an expedition in 2015 around the labyrinth-like Castelbouc Cave beneath the Causse Méjean plateau in southern France.
The tracks, made some 166 million to 168 million years ago, are extremely well-preserved, complete with impressions of digits, pads, and even claws. At a stonking 1.25 meters (4 feet) long, the prints belonged to some of the largest known dinosaurs worldwide.
It’s not certain what species of sauropod was responsible for the tracks, not least because they date to an age in the Middle Jurassic when sauropod evolution is hazy. However, their size suggests they might have belonged to a titanosaur, a diverse group of long-necked sauropods that includes the largest land animals known to have ever existed, such as the 37-meter-long (121-foot) Patagotitan that roamed southern Argentina.
So, how did these gentle giants’ footprints end up on the cave roof? more