Mystery dinosaur tracks - did sauropods really walk on two legs ?
November 27, 2021 | 8 comments
Image Credit: Vlad Konstantinov / Queensland and Eromanga Natural History museums
Strange tracks left by giant sauropod dinosaurs have been leaving experts scratching their heads.
These gargantuan creatures, which would have made even the woolly mammoth look positively minuscule, were some of the largest land animals ever to walk the face of the Earth.
To support their enormous size and weight, they relied upon four huge legs as thick as tree trunks, which as it happens also made deep impressions in the ground that have since been found, millions of years later, as fossilized prints, providing palaeontologists with a wealth of information about the lives and behaviors of these fascinating plant-eating giants.
There is however a snag - in some rare cases, sauropod footprints have been found showing the tracks, not of a four-legged animal, but of an animal walking on two legs.
The tracks are undoubtedly those of a giant sauropod - which always have four legs - so how is it possible that such a huge creature could be walking around on just two legs ?
It's a conundrum that has puzzled experts for years and there are two main theories.
One, is that the dinosaur that left the prints was submerged in water of a depth that enabled two of its legs to reach the sediment while the other two legs remained suspended off the bottom.
The second theory is that, on some surfaces, the heavier front legs might leave impressions while the rear legs - which carry less weight - may not leave sufficient enough impressions to become fossilized.
As things stand, however, nobody is quite sure which of these theories - if either - are true.
Source: Science Alert
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