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Traces of Earth Shakers and Tiny Feet

Even though some of the largest dinosaurs get the most attention, dinosaurs actually came in a variety of sizes. This past week paleontologists announced two discoveries that emphasize just how large, and how small, some dinosaurs were.From Plagne, France came the announcement of the largest dinosa...

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The track of a small theropod dinosaur, known as Minisauripus. From the Journal of Cretaceous Research.


Even though some of the largest dinosaurs get the most attention, dinosaurs actually came in a variety of sizes. This past week paleontologists announced two discoveries that emphasize just how large, and how small, some dinosaurs were.

From Plagne, France came the announcement of the largest dinosaur footprints yet discovered. Naturalists Marie-Hélène Marcaud and Patrice Landry found the tracks back in April, at which point paleontologists Jean-Michel Mazin and Pierre Hantzpergue from the Université Claude Bernard Lyon went out to have a look. They discovered that the 150-million-year-old tracks were made by enormous sauropod dinosaurs, the largest probably stretching over 85 feet and weighing more than 40 tons.

Contrast that with a find announced yesterday in the Korea Herald. The newspaper reported that a resident of one of South Korea's southern provinces discovered one of the smallest dinosaur footprints ever found: the track of a theropod dinosaur measuring only half an inch long. According to Kim Gyeong-su of Chinju National University of Education, the track is about 100 million years old and is consistent with a previously-known track type called Minisauripus.

I wonder how many of the tiny theropods could have fit into just one track made by the enormous sauropod!
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About Brian Switek
Brian Switek

Brian Switek is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology, and natural history. He writes regularly for National Geographic's Phenomena blog as Laelaps.

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