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Dinosaur tracks dating after extinction found on Stromboli volcano

The island of Stromboli.
The island of Stromboli.
Steven W. Dengler This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license by the original photographer.

Dinosaur tracks that dated to times after the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous have been found on the Italian volcano Stromboli by Ingrid Smet with Ghent University in Belgium and colleagues according to a report at the Volcano Discovery website on April 1, 2014.

A series of eruptions during January of 2012 produced a major landslide that revealed the dinosaur footprints under the eons of accumulated ash on the side of the volcano. The footprints were discovered at a height of almost 2,000 feet in an area above the tree line that exists at present.

The discovery lends credence to the idea that some dinosaur species survived the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous.

No bones or any other fossils were found in the area where the footprints were discovered but the researchers were able to identify the dinosaur as a subspecies of Diplodocus hallorum by comparison with other dinosaur footprints.

An international group of paleontologists was consulted concerning the age of the footprints and the species of the dinosaur because the find is extremely rare.

The researchers propose that this species of dinosaur evolved a natural immunity to the effects of ash, low oxygen, and heat due to living near an active volcano. The large size of the dinosaur may have played a role in its survival. These adaptations allowed the dinosaur to survive the volcanic and meteoric event that killed most of the dinosaurs on Earth 65 million years ago.

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