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World's smallest stegosaurus track found in Xinjiang

An illustrated version of a juvenille stegosaurus. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A team of international paleontologists say in a newly published essay that they found the world's smallest stegosaurus track in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The track measures 5.7 centimeters.

The discovery will help scientists better understand the diversity of dinosaur fauna in the early Cretaceous period between 145 million and 66 million years ago in Xinjiang as well as the growth of the stegosaurus and related ancient environmental information.

A track left by a juvenille stegosaurus discovered in Xinjiang Ugyur autonomous region. The track measures 5.7 centimeters. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The stegosaurus that made this smallest track was estimated to have a length of about 1 meter, the size of a typical juvenile. The track is only 15 percent of the size of common tracks made by stegosauruses living in Xinjiang tens of millions of years ago.

Scientists including Xing Lida, associate professor from China University of Geosciences, and Martin Lockley from the University of Colorado reported the trace fossil in an essay published on the periodical of sedimentary geology Palaios.

A track left by an adult stegosaurus. [Photo provided to China Daily]