Beijing: The world`s only evidence of co-existence by humans and dinosaur tracks have been discovered by Chinese and American scientists in a remote county in southwest China, the state media reported today.
A large number of dinosaur tracks as well as a well-preserved fortress and historical epigraph, forming a direct line of evidence that ancient Chinese people built a residence
and lived in Chongqing Municipality`s Qijiang County`s Lianhua Baozhai for a long time, said Xing Lida, one of three researchers with the project.
Chinese people could have lived here for more than 700 years, and the mud cracks, ripple marks and duck-billed dinosaur tracks were considered by them to be lotus leaf veins, water environment and lotus, respectively, which is why they named Lianhua Baozhai `the Lotus Mountain Fortress`, Xing said.
The findings were published in the Geological Bulletin of China, a Chinese core academic journal, yesterday.
"Research shows that dinosaur tracks impacted ancient Chinese place names and folklore, so place names and folklore can be major clues for us in tracing dinosaur tracks," Xing was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
According to the paper, the Lotus Mountain Fortress dinosaur tracks, the largest track group of cretaceous dinosaurs in southwestern China, contains 350 to 400 footprints that had been preserved in many ways, including concave footprints, convex footprints and multi-layered footprints.
"We found a lot of interesting relics that had been associated with lotus by local residents. The ripple marks, mud cracks and duck-billed dinosaur tracks had created a
picture of a lotus field, and lead to the folklore of `booming golden lotus from the earth,`" he said.
Chen Yu, another researcher with the project as well as an archaeologist with the Capital Museum in Beijing, said the region had been a transport hub for China and other Asian
countries, where Buddhism thrived.
"The religion has a special worship towards lotus, which symbolises peace and quiet. This is another reason for the residents to name the place for the flower, seeking blessing
from the Buddha," Chen said.
Adrienne Mayor, the third researcher with the project as well as a historian of ancient science and a classical folklorist with Stanford University in the United States, said
the case of the Lotus Mountain Fortress proves that dinosaur tracks had impacted ancient Chinese folklore, which could provide clues for seeking other tracks.
The fortress` 700 years of history is a rarity in the world, and reflects China`s traditional philosophy of the relationship between humans and nature, she said.