105-Million-Year-Old Bird Tracks Discovered in Australia
Cretaceous bird tracks on a slab of sandstone found at Dinosaur Cove, southern Victoria, Australia. Image credit: Alan Tait.
“These tracks are evidence that we had sizeable, flying birds living alongside other kinds of dinosaurs on these polar, river floodplains, about 105 million years ago,” said lead author Dr Anthony Martin of Emory University in Atlanta.
The footprints were found on a slab of rock from the early Cretaceous strata of the Eumeralla Formation at Dinosaur Cove, a fossil-bearing site in south-east of Australia.
More than 100 million years ago, the location was a flood plain within a great rift valley that formed as the ancient supercontinent Gondwana broke up and Australia separated from Antarctica.
“The thin-toed tracks in fluvial sandstone were likely made by two individual birds that were about the size of a great egret or a small heron.”
“Rear-pointing toes helped distinguish the tracks as avian, as opposed to a third nearby fossil track that was discovered at the same time, made by a non-avian theropod,” Dr Martin said.
One of the footprints is a very rare flight landing track. “I immediately knew what it was, because I’ve seen many similar tracks made by egrets and herons on the sandy beaches of Georgia.
Sources and more information:
Dinosaur Cove, Australia (SPX) Oct 31, 2013 Two fossilized footprints found at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, Australia, were likely made by birds during the Early Cretaceous, making them the oldest known bird tracks in Australia. The journal Palaeontology is publishing an analysis of the footprints led by Anthony Martin, a paleontologist at Emory...
( via sci-news.com )
Tyrssen wrote November 5, 2013 6:39:04 PM CET
Toxic32 is right. This one's really questionable. Looks like a natural rock formation to me.
Toxic32 wrote November 5, 2013 11:44:39 AM CET
How do they know it's a bird foot print? One print! Well that's if you stretch your imagination. From what I know don't all dinosaurs have three toes. One other problem with this claim. It's a print in a block of sand stone in a flood plain. You try to make a mark in dry sand it will have no definition, do it when the sand is wet and it will but as soon as it dry's out the mark will disappear. And as it's on a flood plain when the water rolls over it just like on the beach the mark in the sand will vanish. It's not rocket science is it. Pity they didn't find a feather print along side it. LOL