Fossil Footprints Show Dinosaurs Enjoyed Long Walks on the Beach

Two sets of footprints in the sand of a beach in Germany have been found to belong to two dinosaurs from over 142 million years ago. The findings may reveal that these specific dinosaurs, as well as perhaps many others, were actually social creatures.

Two Theropod Dinosaurs Left Footprints on A German Beach

Two dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago enjoyed eating meat and long walks on the beach in Münchehagen, Germany according to the findings of biologist Pernille Venø Troelsen of the University of Southern Denmark.

The biologist presented his findings in July at the annual meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists, which included pictures of the nearly 50 fossilized footprints that belonged to a large dinosaur and a smaller one, both believed to be theropods. The larger one was around 1.6 meters at its hip, while the smaller stood around 1.1 meters at the hip.

Troelsen noted that the speeds of the creatures, which are similar to velociraptors, were well below the speeds of up to 40 kilometers an hour that they are known to have been able to reach. Paleontologists in Opole, Poland listened to the biologist’s interpretation of the extinct hunters as they strolled along the beach at between 6 to 10 kilometers an hour, possibly looking for food, but in no hurry to find their dinners.

50 Footprints of Dinosaurs Tracked to Reveal Their Walking Path, Gait

The 50 footprints had been found in the Bückeberg formation, a popular place for dinosaurs obviously as dinosaur footprints and tracks have been found there for over 2 centuries. These particular tracks had been uncovered in an excavation between 2009 and 2011.

The tracks not only revealed the walking path of the two dinos, but also the gait. With the larger one, an average speed of around 6 kilometers was recorded. But for the smaller dinosaur, the poor thing had to keep up by walking a pace of around 10 kilometers.

What does this reveal, exactly? Well, for starters, Troelsen’s perspective as a biologist is uniquely different than how geologists and paleontologists may interpret the results. Troelsen believes the animals were of the carnivorous species Megalosauripus that may have been related, such as a parent and its offspring.

The peculiar gait of the little one’s footprints reveal that it had crossed its legs several times on the walk. Troelsen says it can be either the tiny dino had lost its balance in the sand or thanks to a gust of wind or maybe it was in a hurry to keep up with the bigger one. Think of it as a child tagging along behind its parent, who has considerably slowed their pace to help out the young one.

Footprints Reveal Dinosaurs Weren’t Always So Feared, They Did Have Friends

If the biologist’s theories are true, it points to dinosaurs being much more social than what we usually give them credit for.

More studies have shown that dinosaurs have hunted together, taken care of their offspring, as well as even had a similar set of social rules regarding our concept of babysitting.

Though Troelsen was careful to explain that these tracks cannot be definitively analyzed as being created by two dinosaurs that roamed together. The area was a high traffic spot for dinosaurs as many footprints have been found.

But the coincidence of two sets of footprints from the same species of dinosaurs along the exact same path at different times doesn’t seem as plausible as dinos hanging out together and possibly being more than just fearsome creatures.