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One of the longest pterosaur trails found in Portugal

One of the longest and rarest pterosaur trails has been found along a beach in Lourinhã, about 70 kilometres north of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, palaeontologists Simon Kongshøj Callesen and Octávio Mateus have revealed.

One of the longest pterosaur trails found in Portugal

The researchers told Lusa News Agency that the trail, which has around 300 footprints, is “one of the largest in the world” and “the largest in Portugal.”

“These footprints were not known in Lourinhã and there were just two in the Sesimbra area,” they said.

The study of the 152 million-year-old footprints, from the Upper Jurassic period, from which most of the dinosaurs found in the Lourinhã area date, also brings new information to science.

Thus far palaeontologists did not know if pterosaurs moved on two or four legs and the new evidence “clearly shows they were quadrupeds.”

As well as this, the pterosaur footprints previously found are “very rare and belong to smaller pterosaurs.” The ones found in Lourinhã, “show the existence of large pterosaurs that were unknown to have existed in the Upper Jurassic.”

The footprints were found in 2010 on the cliffs of Peralta beach by Octávio Mateus and were studied alongside Danish palaeontologist Simon Kongshøj Callesen.

This comes after Octávio Mateus revealed in 2013 that the most complete skeleton of a 150 million-year-old dinosaur in the world had been discovered in Lourinhã, about 70 kilometres north of Lisbon.

“It is certainly the most complete dinosaur we have in Portugal and one of the most complete from the Upper Jurassic in the whole world and this means we can study how dinosaurs evolved and how, in this case, they turned into birds”, Mateus said at the time.

Source: The Portugal News [November 18, 2016]

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