Dinosaur tracks found on Arabian Peninsula

MAASTRICHT, Netherlands (UPI) — A Dutch-led team of scientists has announced the discovery of the first dinosaur tracks to be found on the Arabian Peninsula.

Led by Anne Schulp of the Maastricht Museum of Natural History in the Netherlands, the researchers found evidence of a large ornithopod dinosaur, as well as a herd of 11 sauropods that apparently had been walking along a Mesozoic coastal mudflat in what is now Yemen.

“No dinosaur trackways had been found in this area previously. It’s really a blank spot on the map,” said Schulp, who conducted the study with Ohio University paleontologist Nancy Stevens and Mohammed Al-Wosabi of Sana’a University in Yemen.

The finding included preserved footprints of 11 small and large sauropods traveling together at the same speed.

“It’s rare to see such a big example of a dinosaur herd,” Schulp said. “This is interesting social behavior for reptiles.”

Wosabi said the rocks in which the dinosaur tracks are preserved are some 150 million years old.

The Yemen Geological Survey implemented protective measures to preserve the trackways and to improve their accessibility to tourists, the scientists said.

The research appears in the online journal PLoS One.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International


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