Dan Rattiner's Stories

Footprints in the Sand: A Million Years Ago, This Could Be Pretty Scary

We’ve got lots of trouble on Earth just now. Climate change. Terrorism. Police violence. Syria. North Korea. Earthquakes. Overpopulation. A scary President-elect. But aren’t you glad you weren’t born 70 million years ago?

Archeologists recently discovered, in two different places on Earth, the footprints of a huge monster dinosaur. One is in Bolivia, South America. It’s believed to be the footprint of a 40-foot-tall Abelisaurus, a fierce, flesh-eating, two-legged beast with powerful jaws and razor teeth that, until now, was believed to have lived only until 100 million years ago. The footprint is the largest footprint of any carnivore ever found. It is nearly four feet wide, and it’s in the bottom of the Marugua Crater, about 40 miles from Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. Most disturbing is that it is 70 million years old, which is 30 million years more recent than we ever thought possible before.

The second footprint was found in September in the Gobi Desert, which is on the border that separates Mongolia from China. This one is 106 centimeters wide (the one in Bolivia is 115 centimeters wide) and it was made when what scientists think was a 60-foot-tall Titanosaur stomped into some mud near what must have been an oasis in that desert all those years ago. Then it lumbered on. It left the footprint behind, which soon filled up with sand and then fossilized.

A science professor named Shinobu Ishigaki from the Okayama University of Science in Tokyo was photographed lying next to this footprint. It’s almost as long as he is, lying down. He wears a bandana around his neck and he’s smiling.

“This is a very rare discovery as it’s a well-preserved fossil footprint that is more than a meter long with imprints of its claws,” in the dirt, a statement from Okayama University of Science reads.

The footprint in Bolivia was photographed with paleontologist Sebastian Apestesuta lying next to it. He also wears a smile.

The footprint in Bolivia breaks the record for the biggest footprint of a carnivorous dinosaur ever measured, a record that , before this, stood at 110 centimeters and was found in New Mexico from a dinosaur believed to have lived 105 million years ago.

Nothing like this has ever been discovered on Eastern Long Island. So I think we are safe, at least for now.

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