Carlos Herrera-Castillo of the Autonomous University of Madrid and his colleagues studied the footprints of a predatory dinosaur: they were found in the Spanish Cretaceous deposits about 129 million years old.
The authors of the new work explored a path of six fossil tracks. They said that previously there was a muddy bank of the pond. The dinosaur could walk through shallow water to the water. The tracks belonged to a large theropod, but the researchers were unable to identify its species.
Due to the right consistency of the medium, its traces are well preserved, and the authors studied them. There were six prints in total: the dinosaur moved on two legs. The authors even suggested that the thigh of the ancient reptile reached two meters, and the weight could be about five tons. The researchers were also able to calculate the speed at which he was moving – approximately four kilometers per hour.
Scientists also drew attention to another feature: one of the legs of the dinosaur stepped clearly, all three fingers were visible, and on the other there were only two. The marks from the place where the third finger should be are short, as if it is not there or it is injured.
The authors note that such a gait occurs in modern birds that have injured their legs. Thus, paleontologists were able to see how dinosaurs adapted to lameness.