They find more than a thousand footprints of sauropod and therodopod dinosaurs in Huatacondo, northern Chile


scientists discovered More than a thousand dinosaur footprints in the small town of Huatacondo, Tarapacá, in the north of Chili, which turned the Andean valley into the locality with the most footprints of the extinct animals in the country.

Christian Salazar, geologist, researcher at the Universidad Mayor de Chile and member of the expedition, quoted on the El Periodista website, declared: “It was something truly unprecedented in my professional experience, incredible. In 10 days we found more than a thousand tracks. We know that there is a giant potential here and it is the beginning of a great work”.

The expedition, made up of Salazar, Mario Suárez (paleontologist), Christian Meyer (Universität Basel, Switzerland), Marko Yurac (Council of National Monuments of Chile) and Javiera Méndez (major Universidad Mayor) was in Huatacondo from May 23 to 3 of June.

In the place they found several hundred footprints in 30 square kilometers, an area analyzed centimeter by centimeter by specialists, who assure that much remains to be discovered in that place.

The finding consisted of more than a thousand footprints embedded in rock layers, dating back 150 million years, belonging to newborn, juvenile and adult dinosaurs, including sauropods (long necks) and therodopods (such as velociraptor or tyrannosaurus rex).

footprint details

Salazar, who has been studying the land in Huatacondo for almost a decade, compiled with the academic team footprints of between 80 centimeters and one meter in the case of sauropods, which would preliminary indicate that these specimens measured up to 12 meters in length, with 9 meter necks.

The first studies determined the existence of a fluvial and semi-desert environment, with rivers and plains rich in biodiversity, that would have served as a transit, habitation and feeding route for these species.

That gives us to make climatic interpretations. Determine seasonality, because here we have very well marked cyclesSalazar pointed out.

The researchers will present the publication of the first results in November during the European Congress of Vertebrate Palaeontology. In addition, they assure that the Huatacondo valley is now “a very good candidate” to become a geosite of high tourist interest, for which they hope it will be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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