Dinosaur tracks found amid ancient human village

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Three scientists from China and the United States have discovered the world's only evidence of ancient human beings living amongst dinosaur tracks in a remote county in Chongqing, according to a report published in latest issue of the Geological Bulletin of China.

Qijiang County's Lotus Mountain Fortress has a large number of dinosaur tracks as well as a well-preserved fortress and historical epigraph, forming direct evidence that ancient Chinese people lived alongside dinosaur tracks, said Xing Lida, one of the researchers.

Chinese people could have lived here for over 700 years, and the mud cracks, ripple marks and duck-billed dinosaur tracks were considered by them to be lotus leaf veins, water environment and lotus, respectively, from which the Lotus Mountain Fortress got its name, Xing said.

According to the paper, the Lotus Mountain Fortress dinosaur tracks contains 350 to 400 footprints that had been preserved in many ways, including concave footprints, convex footprints and multilayered footprints.

"We found a lot of interesting relics that were associated with lotus by local residents. The ripple marks, mud cracks and duck-billed dinosaur tracks had created a picture of a lotus field, and led to the folklore of 'booming golden lotus from the earth,'" Xing said.

Chen Yu, another researcher with the project and an archaeologist at the Capital Museum in Beijing, said the region was a transport hub for China and other Asian countries, where Buddhism thrived.

"The religion has a special worship towards lotus, which symbolizes peace and quiet. This is another reason for the residents to name the place for the flower, seeking blessing from the Buddha," Chen said.

Qijiang County was located in a historically frontier area, and had endured wars at that time. The Lotus Mountain Fortress had been a safe hiding place since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), according to the epigraphy of various dynasties, she said.

(Xinhua contributed to this story)

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