The world's longest dinosaur tracks have been discovered in the French village of Plagne. Researchers believe that they were formed about 150 million years ago by a sauropod, the largest vegetarian dinosaur.
According to the research published in journal Geobios, Brontopodus plagnensis is the longest stretch track of sauropod dinosaurs. The dinosaur is believed to have taken an average stride span of 2.8 meters and would have traveled at a speed of 4 kilometers per hour to make the track.
The scientists from the Laboratoire de Goologie de Lyon, the Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans and the Pterosaur Beach Museum in France dated the limestone layers in the trackway and found that they were formed during the Early Tithonian Age of the Jurassic Period.
According to the researchers, the region had vast carbonate platform bathed in a warm, shallow sea. The dinosaurs might have lived in islands that offered enough vegetation to sustain different species. The lowering of sea levels contributed to the formation of land bridges which connected the islands allowing giant animals to migrate from dry areas of Rhenish Massif.
The discovery of the dinosaur trackings was made in 2009, and excavations between 2010 and 2012 in the region have found 110 steps footprint of the animal. The researchers from the Laboratoire de Geologie de Lyon supervised the digging of the site which led to the finding of the largest dinosaur track over the length of 155 meters. This is the record length noted for the sauropods dinosaurs.
Biometric analysis showed that the dinosaur was at least 35 meters long and weighed between 35 and 40 tonnes its foot was of 94 to 103 centimeters span. The total length of the footprint can reach up to three meters when including the mud ring displaced by each step.
The study said that the footprints reveal five elliptical toe marks, while the handprints are characterized by five circular finger marks arranged in an arc.