Scientists unearth dinosaur tracks in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. At an angle of nearly 70 degrees, the site's steepness presents research difficulties. (Photo: Courtesy of Xing Lida)
An international research team led by a Chinese scientist on Wednesday announced the discovery of a trove of dinosaur tracks in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, and the finding could lead to further discoveries of dinosaur habits and environmental changes, scientists said.
The site in Yilan county, Harbin, Heilongjiang comprises more than 70 lower Cretaceous tracks along five routes including parallel sauropod track ways, a toe-trace dominated tridactyl ornithopod track way and elongate tridactyl theropod tracks, with the latter tentatively believed to be left while swimming, reads a statement from Xing Lida, an expert at the Beijing-based China University of Geosciences and leading member of the research team, sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.
The combination of a possible swim and walking track suggests that they were formed at different times and in different environments.
The site was first reported in 2018 by Zhu Li, a fossil hobbyist, who led Xing and his team to the scene.
Since the dinosaur footprints were left on a steep cliff with an angle of more than 70 degrees, the team has had to use a rope ladder and a sky lift to reach them.
While there are abundant fossil resources in Heilongjiang, records on bones and footprints from the lower Cretaceous period are rare, the statement said, noting that this finding has filled in the record blanks about dinosaur fossils in the area and reflected the diversity of the area.
Xing said that the assemblage contains a large number of well-preserved footprints and is of significant value in researching the evolution of dinosaurs and further understanding dinosaurs' activities, habits and their living environment.
It will also help understanding the ancient environment of the area and climate change, he said.