Life

313 Million-Year-Old Footprints Discovered in Grand Canyon

A cliff collapse at the Grand Canyon has unveiled what’s turned out to be a major archeological find: a 313 million-year-old set of fossilized footprints.
While hundreds of prehistoric footprints have been found in the canyon over the years, this particular set stands out among the rest, says geologist Allan Krill. “These are by far the oldest vertebrate tracks in the Grand Canyon, which is known for its abundant fossil tracks,” Rowland says. “They are among the oldest tracks on Earth of shelled-egg-laying animals, such as reptiles, and the earliest evidence of vertebrate animals walking in sand dunes.”

The newly-discovered tracks reveal a previously unknown gait, Rowland says. The creature that made the tracks appears to have walked by stepping forward with a front leg and back leg at the same time. Rowland says scientists “previously had no information about that.”

What’s the oldest thing you’ve found on or in the ground? Do you think there might have been another dominant species on Earth before dinosaurs came along?


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