Ancient bipedalism wasn't just about dinosaurs, it was about crocodiles.

2020-06-15

Source : Tech Daily

Artistic reproduction of a footprint animal figure. Image credit: University of Queensland

Science and Technology Daily (reporter Zhang Mengran) Nature Research's "Scientific Reports" journal published a paleontological paper on the 11th. The Lower Cretaceous Jinju group in South Korea has discovered well-preserved larger tracks from the ancestors of modern crocodiles. The study points out that the previously discovered tracks of giant pterosaurs, once thought to have walked on bipedal feet, may actually have been left by close relatives of ancient crocodiles .

This time, a joint research team, including paleontologists from the University of Colorado Denver, near the city of Sacheon in South Korea Several sets of footprints were discovered during excavations at the Self-Huili site. The researchers named these tracks "Batrachopus grandis" and they are from a crocodilian. New species, ancestors of modern crocodiles, fish-eating crocodiles and alligators.

These tracks are more than twice the size of the previously discovered tracks known as "Batrachopodid", some of which were found in the same area. It is 18 cm to 24 cm long, indicating a possible body length of three meters. The narrower tracks were entirely hindfoot, with some areas preserving clear impressions and skin marks from heel to toe.

The researchers did not find any hindfoot tracks covering forefoot tracks or suggesting tracks left by quadrupedal crocodilians, suggesting that the " Batrachopus grandis" represents a bipedal walking animal. This gait has not been previously found in any of the track samples of this family.

Previous tracks found at older sites were thought to have been left by giant pterosaurs when they walked bipedally on land to protect their wings. But the results of this study suggest that the tracks may have come from crocodilians. This supports the consensus reached by the footprint fossil researchers that pterosaurs shared limbs when they walked. This study also brings to light the need to re-examine other similarly shaped specimens from the same period in history.


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