2 Mar, 2021 @ 11:15
1 min read

Over 200 fossilised footprints of animals predating dinosaurs described in Spain’s Catalunya


THE presence of fossilised remains of dinosaurs and bones, footprints and eggs in Catalunya is astounding.

Now, thanks to two investigations by the Catalan Institute of Paleontology Miquel Crusafont (ICP), 219 icnitas (fossil footprints) have been described.

The fossilised footprints are of tetrapod vertebrates and arthropod invertebrates that lived in the territory of present-day Catalunya about 240 million years ago, before the dinosaurs.

Among the remains described is the Puigventos ichnite (Olesa de Montserrat, Barcelona), of particular importance and interest and the result of the chance discovery of a hiker who, on April 7 2016, found a footprint that appeared to be carved into the rock in an area known as Puigventos.

A plaster cast of the print was made by the town’s council and handed over to the region’s archaeology and paleontology department for its study and preservation.

The Puigventos ichnite turned out to be an impression of the left foot of an archosaur, a primitive group of large reptiles considered to be the ancestors of dinosaurs and crocodiles.

These archosaurs were similar in appearance to today’s crocodiles, walking on all fours, but their legs were relatively longer and more upright than those of current crocodiles.

Archosaurs dominated terrestrial ecosystems after the late Permian extinction, shortly before the appearance of dinosaurs, in the largest extinction on Earth, which, according to palaeontologists, was much more devastating than the one that later wiped out the dinosaurs.

The Puigventos ichnite, found near Olesa de Montserrat, is from the Middle Triassic (about 240 million years ago) and is the best preserved of all the fossilised tracks in the Iberian Peninsula, since it even preserves detailed impressions of the claws and the skin.

This is one of the cases collected in the two studies, which also describe ichnites with footprints of tetrapods (four-legged animals) found in Vallirana and El Figaro, two localities in Barcelona.

Ichnite sites in Spain are amongst the world’s most important for the quantity, quality and variety of the tracks to be found, with Catalunya considered as one of the last strongholds  of the dinosaurs.

Cristina Hodgson

Half English, half Spanish animal person. Cristina loves writing about all things fitness, travel and culture, she is also a script writer and novelist. When she's not typing away, you can find her enjoying outdoor sports somewhere off the beaten track in Andalucia. If you have a story get in touch! [email protected]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

February was Andalucia’s deadliest month since start of coronavirus pandemic

Page 7 Laptop
Next Story

Looking for a J-O-B in ELT, but you don’t know your CELTAs from your DELTAs?

Latest from La Cultura

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press