May 22, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Dinosaurs Walked in Yemen

Dinosaur tracks have been found in Yemen – a region with few fossils of dinosaurs.  The reports on National Geographic News, Science Daily and the BBC News said the tracks had been covered up with rubble and debris.
    Dinosaur evidence is “exceptionally rare” in this part of the world.  The paleontologists believe that 11 sauropods were walking in the same direction.
    The reports claim the rocks are 120 million years old.  It was surprising, however, to find ornithopods this large in late Jurassic strata; “it tells us right now that big ornithopod dinosaurs maybe appeared a little bit earlier than was assumed so far,” said one of the researchers.  It was also unexpected to find ornithopods and sauropods walking together, since, according to conventional wisdom, the two types of herbivorous dinosaurs “do not commonly co-occur or co-exist together.”

Dinosaur tracks are fairly common throughout the world.  There are even some in southern Israel.  Texas, California, Utah, Mexico, Russia, and many other places have preserved tracks.  They don’t come with dates on them.  Certain reasonable inferences can be made about species, stride, and velocity.  Estimating the conditions necessary for preservation is also fair game.  The stories made up about when the creatures evolved and made the tracks, though, are interpretations of empirical evidence, not evidence itself.

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Categories: Dinosaurs, Fossils

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