Dinosaur prints discovered in 1980's 'paving slabs' at Heritage site

Jurassic dinosaur footprints are discovered in 1980s ‘paving slabs’ at a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in North China

  • 140 three-toed Theropod footprints, Koreanaornis prints, and a Brontosaur track
  • Palaeontologists discovered multiple fossils at Chengde Mountain Resort, China
  • The World Heritage Site is in Chengde city, Hebei, 140 miles north of Beijing

Dinosaur footprints from various different species have been discovered in paving slabs in North China.

The fossilised Jurassic dinosaur footprints were uncovered by Palaeontologists at the Chengde Mountain Resort, a World Heritage Site in Chengde city, China’s Hebei province, 140 miles north of Beijing.  

Bizarrely the fossils were spotted in various paving slabs made from local stone that had been installed in the site in the late 1970s and early 80s.

Among the findings were 140 theropod footprints averaging five inches in length. Theropods are a suborder of dinosaurs with hollow bones and three toes.

Several ancient shorebird footprints, which could have belonged to a Koreanaornis, were also found in the slabs.

Among the findings at the Chengde Mountain Resort in North China were 140 three-toed Theropod footprints, averaging five inches in length (pictured)

 Several ancient shorebird footprints, which could have belonged to a Koreanaornis, were also discovered

One significant fossil, measuring 11 inches long and nine inches wide, is thought to be an unidentified Brontosaur track – suggesting a diverse number of species roamed the area.

The stone slabs containing the fossils were moved to the discovery site during the construction of a new tourist resort around forty or fifty years ago.

Chengde Mountain Resort is home to a large complex of imperial palaces and gardens which were formerly a royal summer resort built in 1703 for the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Palaeontologists stand over the Theropod footprints at the Chengde Mountain Resort 

A Palaeontologist draws around the outline of one Theropod footprint at the site

Before the discovery the paving slabs were thought to be the most modern thing about the ancient UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site

Researchers from China University of Geosciences in Beijing collaborated with University of Colorado, US, and University of Queensland, Australia.

Professor Xing Lida, who led the research said in a statement: ‘The huge quantity of well-preserved footprints are highly valuable to studies on dinosaurs’ behaviour, habits, living environment and how the climate changed at the time.’

He told MailOnline: ‘In 1970s to 80s, the local government decided to do some repair work. 

‘In the process, some stone slabs with dinosaur footprints were laid on the ground.’ 

The area saw similar discoveries in 1992, which peaked Mr Lida’s interest.

In 1994 the Mountain Resort and its surrounding temples were added as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.

The footprints, which are likely to bring more tourism to the area, will be protected by the Chengde municipal relics bureau as advised by Professor Lida’s team.

A view of Chengde Mountain Resort, a World Heritage Site composed and a large complex of imperial palaces and gardens, in Chengde city, north China’s Hebei province

A sequence of tracks likely belonging to the ancient shorebird species Koreanaornis

An unidentified footprint is measured up – with four ‘toes’ noted by palaeontologists in chalk

Two brontosaurus (right) attacked by a Dryptosaurus. An unidentified Brontosaurus footprint is believed to have been discovered

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