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Dinosaurs that left tracks in stone identified

The two photographs show casts and outline drawings of Asianopodus pulvinicalx in the Huangyangquan Reservoir, Urho area in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. (Scale bar = 10 cm) [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Dinosaur footprints that were discovered recently in the Junggar Basin of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, include tracks of what is believed to be a new species of Asianopodus, a Chinese research team announced on June 5.

The team, organized by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, found the footprints in an 80-square-meter layer of fine sandstone.

"We found 13 three-toed footprints on the stratum. The larger one is about 47 cm to 56 cm long and 31 cm to 42 cm wide, and they are shaped like a 'V'. The smaller one is about half the size of the larger one," said Wang Xiaolin, the leader of the team and a senior paleontologist at the institute.

The team analyzed the sizes and shapes of the footprints, which were similar to a brontosaurus's, and then categorized the track as part of the Asiatic footprint genus.

"We have identified both of the footprints we discovered as carnivorous theropods. The bigger one is a little bit different from the Asiatic dinosaur footprints that have been found before, so we named them the Niu's Asian footprints — a new species that belongs to the largest species of Asianopodus," Wang said.