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Animal tracks found in the Grand Canyon are the oldest ever, paleontologists say





The 313-million-year-old animal tracks are the oldest in existence.


PLoS ONE

Fossilized footprints discovered in Grand Canyon National Park have been confirmed by paleontologists on Friday to be the oldest recorded tracks of their kind.

The tracks have been first discovered inside a boulder by Norwegian geology professor Allan Krill and his college students in 2016, however now researchers have discovered that they are the oldest in existence — around 313 million years old, give or take half 1,000,000 years. 

“These are by far the oldest vertebrate tracks in Grand Canyon, which is thought for its considerable fossil tracks,” mentioned Stephen Rowland, a paleontologist on the College of Nevada, Las Vegas. “They’re among the many oldest tracks on Earth of shelled-egg-laying animals, comparable to reptiles.

They’re additionally the earliest proof of vertebrates strolling on sand dunes.

The tracks present two animals strolling in a “lateral sequence stroll” — which means the 2 legs on both sides transfer in succession, with the rear leg first and the entrance leg following (the identical approach cats and canine stroll).

“[The] tracks doc the usage of this gait very early within the historical past of vertebrate animals. We beforehand had no details about that,” Rowland mentioned.

The analysis was printed within the PLoS ONE journal.

Fossil track walking gait

The tracks present two animals strolling in a lateral-sequence stroll alongside a sand dune.


PLoS ONE





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Author

Corinne Reichert