日前,澳大利亚西北部发现了迄今为止世界上最大的恐龙足迹——长达1.75米。此外,澳考古学家还在该地区约1.4亿年的岩石中发掘出多达21种前所未见的恐龙遗迹。

据悉,这片位于西澳大利亚金伯利地区的遗迹被称为澳大利亚的“侏罗纪公园”,而这枚将近一人高的脚印则一举打破2016年在玻利维亚发现的1.15米恐龙足迹的世界纪录。据考古学家推断,此足迹为巨型长颈草食性蜥脚类恐龙在大约1.4亿年前漫步澳大利亚时留下的。专家称,此次发现的恐龙种类之多堪称近年来世界之最,更可证实剑龙曾在澳大利亚生活。

昆士兰大学古生物学家史蒂夫•索尔斯伯里博士(Steve Salisbury)谈到,“此项发现意义重大。这不仅是澳大利亚西半部非禽类恐龙的最原始纪录。同时也可让人类一窥白垩纪上半期澳恐龙群的活动踪迹”。此前,澳大利亚恐龙化石大多发现于东部。

据了解,这些珍贵的遗迹在2008年险些消失。当时该地区正是一座大型液化天然气厂的选址区,之后当地土著居民联系索尔斯伯里博士团队深入该地区长期调研。该区域于2011年被列为国家遗产保护区,恐龙遗迹得以保留。

An “unprecedented” 21 different types of dinosaur tracks have been found on a stretch of Australia’s remote coastline, scientists said Monday, dubbing it the nation’s Jurassic Park.

Palaeontologists from the University of Queensland and James Cook University said it was the most diverse such discovery in the world, unearthed in rocks up to 140 millions years old in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Steve Salisbury, lead author of a paper on the findings published in the Memoir of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, said the tracks were “globally unparalleled”.

“It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half of the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia´s dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period,” he said.

 

It was almost lost, with the Western Australian government in 2008 selecting the area as the preferred site for a massive liquid natural gas processing precinct.

Alarmed, the region’s traditional Aboriginal custodians, the Goolarabooloo people, contacted Salisbury and his team to officially research what they knew was there.

They spent more than 400 hours investigating and documenting dinosaur tracks in the Walmadany area.

“We needed the world to see what was at stake,” Goolarabooloo official Phillip Roe said, explaining the dinosaur tracks formed part of a songline that extends along the coast and then inland, tracing the journey of a Dreamtime creator being called Marala, the Emu man.

Aboriginal Australians have developed and are bound by highly complex belief systems — known as the Dreamtime — that interconnect the land, spirituality, law, social life and care of the environment.

A songline is one of the paths across the land which mark the route followed by localised “creator-beings”, stories that have been handed down through the generations.

The area was eventually awarded National Heritage status in 2011 and the gas project subsequently collapsed.