A team of paleontologists found a fossilized footprint measuring 1.15 meters – about 3 feet, 9 inches – of a bipedal, carnivorous dinosaur that lived in what is now southern Bolivia about 80 million years ago.
It is the largest such footprint ever found to date in the landlocked South American nation, the scientists said.
The Abelisaurus footprint – which was found in the Maragua zone, about 40 miles from city of Sucre – could be one of the largest footprints of this species ever found anywhere in the world, paleontologist Omar Medina, of the Bolivian Paleontology Network, told EFE.
Medina said that the footprint is 78-80 million years old and emphasized the importance of Maragua for paleontology, given that thousands of other footprints and tracks of other dinosaurs – both carnivores and herbivores - have been found nearby.
Argentine paleontologist Sebastian Apestiguia, who verified the find, told the daily La Razón that the print "is much larger" than others of the same species that had been found to date.
He added that the dinosaur could have measured more than 39 in length, while other carnivorous dinosaurs from the end of the Cretaceous Period in South America normally attained a maximum size of about 29.5 feet, meaning that the recently-found print would set "a record."
The most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever found, housed at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, measures 40 feet in length.
Paleontological guide Grover Marquina found the Abelisaurus footprint about two weeks ago while exploring the zone to design a tourist route at the behest of the Sucre city administration, a project in which Medina participated as part of the Viceministry of Science and Technology.
More than 10,000 dinosaur footprints have been found in the Cal Orck'o region in the Sucre municipality.
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