Dinosaur footprints found in E. China

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Chinese archeologists said Friday they have discovered an exceptional large track of dinosaur footprints in a city in the eastern province of Shandong.

After a three-month excavation, more than 3,000 dinosaur footprints have been uncovered on a 2,600-square-meter slope in a gully of Huanghua town in Zhucheng City.

Wang Haijun, a senior engineer at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Xing Lida, a dinosaur footprints researcher, said the prints dated back to more than 100 million years ago in the mid Cretaceous period.

The footprints in at least three layers are rare in the world in terms of both their number and total size, they said.

The footprints, which range from 10 cm to 80 cm in length, revealed more than six kinds of dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus, Coelurosaurs and Hadrosaurs.

The footprints were in the same direction. Wang said this might be a result of migration or panic escape by plant-eating dinosaurs when facing a surprise raid from meat-eating counterparts.

Wang said as excavation continues, there could be more footprint findings.

Archeologists have found dinosaur fossils in some 30 sites in Zhucheng, known as a "dinosaur city".

Zhao Xijin, an expert from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, said Zhucheng discovered the largest dinosaur fossil field in the world in 2008 where more than 7,600 fossils had been uncovered.

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