FROM THE EDUCATION DESK
Can you believe that January is here already! Many people have remarked to me that 2017 went much too fast. I hope that 2018 goes a little slower and that we will all have time to enjoy this coming year with our friends and families doing the things which give us pleasure and that bring us closer together.
The largest skin impression ever found on a sauropod dinosaur footprint has been discovered in South Korea and is from the Early Cretaceous period. The team was led by Paik In-sung, an earth and environmental science professor at Pukyong National University. A number of fossilized dinosaur footprints have been found worldwide, but the case of a skin impression preserved in a dinosaur footprint is very rare, Paik said. This discovery suggests that some sauropod dinosaurs in the Cretaceous had a well-developed polygonal skin texture covering nearly the whole of their foot pads, as seen in modern elephants, which would increase stability when walking on muddy and wet ground. (The team’s findings are published in the latest edition of Scientific Reports).
The dinosaur responsible for the world’s largest fossil track has been identified by scientists eight years after its footprints were discovered. In 2009, scientists found a row of giant prints in the tiny French village of Plagne, near the southeastern city of Lyon. The trail of 110 craters stretches for hundreds of yards in the chalky sediment, and dates from the Jurassic period, around 150 million years ago, when the area was covered by a warm, shallow sea. From studying the depth of the prints and stride length, researchers have concluded they were made by a huge dinosaur which was at least 114 feet long. It left footprints that were more than 3ft. wide with five toe marks. It walked with 9 ft. strides and probably at a speed of 2.4mph. This new dinosaur has been named Brontopodus plagenensis, which means “Thunderfoot from Plagne”. Other dinosaur trackways found at the Plagne site, include a series of 18 tracks extending over 124ft. The researchers have covered these tracks to protect them from the elements, and scientists believe many more are still to be found. The presence of large dinosaurs indicates the region must have had many islands that offered enough vegetation to sustain the animals. Land bridges emerged when the sea level lowered, connecting the islands and allowing the giant vertebrates to migrate between the areas of dry land. (Published in the journal Geobios)
A very HAPPY NEW YEAR to all !