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First dinosaur tracks found in Arabian peninsula
Source: BI-ME and Reuters , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 12:00 am

YEMEN. Scientists have discovered the tracks of a herd of 11 long-necked sauropods walking along a coastal mudflat in what is now the Republic of Yemen, the first discovery of dinosaur footprints on the Arabian peninsula.

Sauropods, the largest land animals in earth's history, walked on four stout legs and ate plants.

"The nice thing is we finally filled in a bit of a blank spot in the dinosaur map," said Anne Schulp, a palaeontologist at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, who worked on the study.

"Until ten years not even bones were known from the Arabian peninsula and at last we have some dinosaur tracks."

The footprints dating from about 150 million years ago showed the sauropods traveling at the same speed along a river, likely in search of food, Schulp said in a Reuters interview. The creatures roamed the Earth from about 228 million years ago to 65 million years ago, the middle of the age of dinosaurs.

The well-preserved tracks, found about 50 miles North of Yemen's capital Sanaa, ranged from 43 centimetres to 70 centimetres and suggested strides of about 2.5 metres, Schulp added.

Paleontologists have so far unearthed only a few dinosaur fossils from the Arabian peninsula and possible fragments of a long-necked dinosaur from Yemen.

 

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