One of the biggest dinosaur footprints ever found has been unearthed in the Gobi Desert, researchers said yesterday, offering fresh clues about the giant creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago.
A joint Mongolian-Japanese expedition found the giant print, which is 106cm long and 77cm wide, Agence France-Presse reported.
One of several footprints discovered in the vast Mongolian desert, it was found last month in a geologic layer formed between 70 million years and 90 million years ago, researchers said. It was naturally cast, as sand had flowed into dents left by the creature stomping on the once muddy ground.
The footprint is believed to have belonged to a Titanosaur, a long-necked dinosaur that researchers believe could have been more than 30m long and 20m tall.
"This is a very rare discovery as it's a well-preserved fossil footprint that is more than a metre long with imprints of its claws," the Okayama University of Science said a statement.
Similar-sized footprints have previously been found in Morocco and France. However, the latest find has the clearest signs of the dinosaur's nails.
The Japanese university has been involved in the study with the Mongolian Academy of Science.
Dr Shinobu Ishigaki, a palaeontology professor at Okayama, said the team was searching the area for dinosaur remains, The Japan Times reported. Professor Ishigaki said the find could help scientists to understand how dinosaurs walked.