A diner discovered 100 million year old dinosaur footprints in a restaurant: NPR

A diner discovered 100 million year old dinosaur footprints in a restaurant: NPR


A sketch of a footprint discovered in the courtyard of the restaurant.

Lida Xing


hide caption

toggle caption

Lida Xing


A sketch of a footprint discovered in the courtyard of the restaurant.

Lida Xing

If you need an excuse to go to brunch this weekend, allow yourself to consider the possibility that your French toast will lead you to expand scientific discovery and research.

Earlier this month, an observant customer at a restaurant in southwest China spotted a series of footprints on the stone floor of the courtyard where they were dining.

And after the relevant authorities were called in to observe and identify, paleontologists on site discovered a new set of footprints, which they believe belong to two dinosaurs that roamed the planet around 100 million years ago. years.

Paleontologist Dr. Lida Xing was one of the experts called in to investigate. He told CNN his team used a 3D scanner to confirm the footprints were left by sauropods.


A scientist documents the footprint.

Lida Xing


hide caption

toggle caption

Lida Xing


A scientist documents the footprint.

Lida Xing

Sauropods were plant eaters with small heads and long necks and tails, and they were monstrous.

“All of these dinosaurs hatched from eggs that were about the size of a grapefruit, so they were kind of like popcorn to the carnivores of their time,” said Riley Black, a paleontologist and science writer.

“Their game plan, evolutionarily speaking, was to eat a whole bunch of plants and get bigger as fast as possible.”

And although the time for sauropods to roam the Earth is long gone, this discovery signals an exciting time for paleontological research.

“I would say that right now China, especially in terms of dinosaur footprints, is going through a fossil renaissance. There are a lot of new and exciting sites being discovered,” said Scott Persons, a paleontologist at the College of Charleston. He worked with the Chinese scientists who made this discovery, although he was not involved in this particular discovery.


3D printers were used to confirm that the footprints belonged to dinosaurs.

Lida Xing


hide caption

toggle caption

Lida Xing


3D printers were used to confirm that the footprints belonged to dinosaurs.

Lida Xing

“I have to say, I’ve never been to a restaurant to find dinosaur tracks,” Persons said.

Black said this type of encounter could be a reminder that fossil remains are still all around us.

“Even sometimes when I walk around Salt Lake City, a lot of the sidewalks that we have there are made out of early Jurassic sandstone. And I haven’t seen a dinosaur in there yet, but you’ll see little tracks made by proto-mammals, scorpions and spiders crawling all over these sand dunes, so there’s really a whole kind of urban paleontology there.

Although fossil footprints may not seem as dramatic as the discovery of bones, they allow paleontologists to gain unique insight into dinosaur life.

“Traces are fossilized behavior. It’s the movement of a living animal. And typically, tracks are some of the only evidence we have for dinosaur social behavior,” Black said.

Black added that sauropods had to eat constantly to maintain their size – so their behavior in this case may have involved foraging their way through their verdant, lush world.

In other words, there’s a chance they had brunch too.

This story was adapted for the web by Manuela Lopez Restrepo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *