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Catalan and Aragonese Pyrenees may contain the footsteps of Europe’s last ever dinosaurs

An investigation in the Pyrenees in the areas of Lleida (western Catalonia) and Huesca (northern Aragon) may have found the footprints of the last dinosaurs that inhabited Europe. The footprints are said to come from the Hadrosaurid family of dinosaurs and roughly be 65.5 million years old. The amount of fossils and footprints of dinosaurs that exist from the era just before their extinction - 65 million years ago - is scarce and limited to just a few places worldwide. Now one of those placed is in the Pyrenees.

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13 September 2013 05:56 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Researchers from the University of Zaragoza, the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the Catalan Institute of Palaeontology (ICP) have carried out an investigation which may have found the last dinosaurs that lived in Europe. The investigation is located in the Pyrenees in the areas of Lleida (western Catalonia) and Huesca (northern Aragon). The researchers have stated that the footprints come from the Hadrosaurid family of dinosaurs and are said to be 65.5 million years old. The team has spent decades studying the last of the dinosaurs that inhabited the region and in a recent publication of the journal ‘PlosOne’ it was explained how the Hadrosaurids, also known as duck-billed dinosaurs, lived in the last few thousand years of the Cretaceous period. The study is said to be more conclusive as the footprints are evidence of life, unlike fossils which can be eroded over time and be deposited in more modern rocks. The amount of footprints and fossils that exist just before the extinction of dinosaurs - 65 million years ago - is scarce and are limited to just a few places worldwide. Now one of those places is the Pyrenees.


The studies in this region have been ongoing for over a decade in outcrops where it has been possible to discover an abundance of footprints of these Hadrosaurids that were formed in river channels. It is highly difficult to like the footstep with the dinosaur and a challenge to find corresponding footprints that are located next to each other, but the researchers have several assumptions. As well the Hadrosaurids they have found what they believe to be footprints from the Arenysaurus and the Pararhabdodon.

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  • Researchers analysing the dinosaur footprints (by Universidad de Zaragoza / ACN)

  • Researchers analysing the dinosaur footprints (by Universidad de Zaragoza / ACN)