118-mn-yr-old dinosaur tracks found in African diamond mine

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Researchers have found nearly 70 tracts of 118 million year old dinosaur, crocodile and large mammal in the Catoca mine in Angola. It also show a mysterious raccoon-sized animal, during a time when most were no larger than a rat. They also found 18 sauropod tracks, with a preserved skin impression.

All the tracks were found in a small sedimentary basin, formed about 118 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous, in the crater of a kimberlite pipe, researchers said.

Footprints

“These tracks are unique because they are the first vertebrate fossils ever found from the inlands of Angola,” said researcher Marco Marzola of the PaleoAngola Project. “All the other vertebrate fossils on Angola were found on the coastline.”

The Catoca Diamond Mine, the world’s fourth largest diamond mine, had stopped mining for almost eight months to preserve the findings and make the study possible.

The tracks are sent to the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, for preservation and study. Soon they will return to Angola. “Everything belongs to that nation and its heritage,” Marzola said. “This is very important to underline.”