Over 700 fish-eating dinosaur footprints found in Portugal

Barcelona: A Spanish paleontological team has found more than 700 footprints belonging to carnivorous dinosaurs in Portugal, a leading investigator said on Tuesday.

The dinosaurs were believed to be part of the Megalosauridae group, from the Middle Jurassic Period, and were thought to take advantage of low tides to hunt fish trapped in tidal pools, EFE news reported.

Novella Razzolini, the leading investigator on the Catalan Institute of Paleontology’s team, said the footprints were a “marvelous finding”.

She said the Middle Jurassic, which stretches back from 174 million to 163 million years ago, is known as the “dark age” of dinosaurs, as fossil records have shined little light on many of the creatures that lived during the period.

In Europe, most fossil remains from this group have been found in France, England and Scotland, while Portugal is known for the high amount of fossilised footprints.

Razzolini’s study focused on a series of prints found in Velle de Meio, 100 km north of Lisbon, an area that 170 million years ago was underwater during high tide, but which during low tide had sand bars which stopped the water from receding and formed lagoons.

According to the paleontologist, the footprints found are the largest in the Iberian peninsula and could belong to a small number of individuals that consistently fished in the area.

This is the first time investigators found clear evidence of migrations and movements by Megalosauridae with the sole purpose of acquiring food.