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New dinosaur footprints from Morocco revealed

A new and diverse group of dinosaur footprints has been discovered by Nizar Ibrahim from the University of Chicago and colleagues from the United States, Morocco, France, and the United Kingdom according to their report in the March 7, 2014, edition of the journal Public Library of Science.

Examples of dinosaur footprints found at Gara Sbaa.
Examples of dinosaur footprints found at Gara Sbaa.
Nizar Ibrahim et al. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090751.g007
Theropod footprints at Gara Sbaa.
Nizar Ibrahim et al. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090751.g008

The dinosaur footprints were discovered in multiple layers of the Kem Kem beds in southeastern Morocco and date to the Cretaceous. The footprints that were discovered include theropods, sauropods, ornithopods, and a single neosauropod.

The nature of the sandstone in the region and the 250 kilometer length of the region allowed the researchers to make a historical analysis of the change in plant and animal life that lived in Morocco around the Cretaceous.

Core samples taken form across the Kem Kem area indicates that large dinosaurs gave way to smaller dinosaurs and then to small invertebrates. During the same time period the landscape changed producing changes from predominantly terrestrial life to marine life. The upper layers of the region indicated the presence of sea-anemone, snails, worms, and crabs.

The researchers indicate that they have hardly scratched the proverbial surface of the fossil remains and animal history that is preserved in a unique region of Morocco.

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