London: Scientists have reported the discovery of the tiniest dinosaur footprints ever found, which were made by a baby dinosaur as it fled for its life.
The prints were discovered in 2008 during the construction of a reservoir on Changseon Island, located 320 kilometres from the South Korean capital of Seoul.
According to a report in New Scientist, the footprints, left between 125 and 110 million years ago, are just 1.27 cm and 1.51 cm long, and clearly show soft foot pads and three pointed claws.
Kyung Soo Kim of Chinju National University of Education in Jinju, South Korea, said that the baby track-maker was a cousin of the fearsome T. Rex and belonged to the theropod sub-order, which includes tyrannosaurs.
Barely 10 centimetres tall, the hatchling would have been the length of a wren and easy prey for pterosaurs and other hungry dinosaurs.
“It was running to hide right after hatching,” Kim said.
It had plenty of reasons to do so: nearby tracks show it shared its home with fleet-footed, meat-eating dromeosaurs, such as Velociraptor, together with other dinosaurs, pterosaurs and shorebirds.
The previous smallest dinosaur footprints were found in 2004 on Skye off the west coast of Scotland and were up to 40 per cent bigger than the present find.
First Published: Tuesday, October 13, 2009, 12:34