118-mn-yr-old dinosaur tracks found in African diamond mine

Researchers have found 118 million year old dinosaur, crocodile and large mammal tracks in one of the largest diamond mines in Africa.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 06, 2014, 17:36 PM IST

Washington: Researchers have found 118 million year old dinosaur, crocodile and large mammal tracks in one of the largest diamond mines in Africa.

Nearly 70 distinct tracks were recovered in the Catoca mine in Angola. All the tracks were found in a small sedimentary basin, formed about 118 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous, in the crater of a kimberlite pipe, researchers said.

The mammal tracks show a mysterious raccoon-sized animal, during a time when most were no larger than a rat.

There is no evidence from bones or teeth of such a large Early Cretaceous mammal from Africa or elsewhere in the world, researchers said.

They also found 18 sauropod tracks, with a preserved skin impression. These are the first dinosaur tracks found in Angola, and were discovered by the same paleontologist, Octavio Mateus, who found Angolatitan adamastor, the first Angolan dinosaur ever found, in 2005.

Another trackway was attributed to a crocodilomorph trackmaker, a group that includes all modern crocodiles and extinct relatives, and has a unique laterally rotated handprint.