110 giant steps: Long-necked dinosaur breaks record for longest trackway

Imagine a dinosaur footprint as long as a young child is tall. Now, imagine 110 of them. Amazingly, that’s what paleontologists have discovered in eastern France — 110 fossilized footprints belonging to a long-necked sauropod that lived during the Jurassic period.

At more than 500 feet long, the footprint-speckled path is the longest sauropod trackway on record, according to the researchers. This lengthy trackway is a few yards longer than the previous record holders: a 465-foot-long and a 482-foot-long sauropod trackway in Galinha, Portugal, dating to the middle Jurassic, the researchers said.

Part of the trackway was uncovered in the French village of Plagne, located in the Jura Mountains, in 2009. In the years that followed, paleontologists uncovered more of the 150-million-year-old site, a meadowland covering 7.4 acres (3 hectares), an area roughly the size of six football fields. [Photos: Dinosaur Tracks Reveal Australia’s ‘Jurassic Park’]

The sauropod’s circular feet were big: 37 inches by 40 inches, but the total footprint length could reach up to 10 feet when considering the mud ring that was displaced by each step, the researchers said.

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