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At A Site In Northeastern Brazil, Prehistoric Rock Art And 140 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Footprints Are Brought Together “Like No Archaeological Or Paleontological Site In The World”

Otavio Lino - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

At a site in northeastern Brazil, there is prehistoric rock art, and footprints made long ago by dinosaurs that are unique from any others in the world.

The site is called Serrote do Letreiro, which translates to “Signpost Hill,” and it is located in a rural area about seven miles from the Sousa municipality of Paraíba state.

The site consists of three large rock outcrops that take up more than 160,000 square feet. The rocks feature fossilized footprints with dozens of petroglyphs, also known as rock carvings, next to each other. They date back about 140 million years ago to the Lower Cretaceous period.

“The main discovery is that the site brings together petroglyphs and dinosaur fossils like no other archaeological or paleontological site in the world,” Leonardo Troiano, the lead author of the study and an archaeologist with the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) in Brazil, said.

Researchers believe that ancient humans intentionally carved the designs next to the dinosaur prints since many of them were only two to four inches away from the tracks. Some of the petroglyphs also seemed to be illustrations of the prints.

The fossilized dinosaur footprints in the Sousa region were first discovered in the early 20th century, but investigations into the remains were not conducted until the 1970s, which were led by Giuseppe Leonardi, an Italian researcher. Although he studied the site’s paleontological aspects, he overlooked the petroglyphs.

“He never paid much attention to the petroglyphs and only mentioned them as ‘engravings left by Kariri Indians,’ continuing to focus on the footprints in the Sousa region,” Troiano said.

Over the years, the rock art has only been mentioned briefly. Before the latest study, researchers had not carried out any thorough analyses of the petroglyphs. Troiano and his colleagues conducted a survey of Serrote do Letreiro and captured aerial photos of the field with drones.

The team noted that the tracks belonged to various species of dinosaurs, including ornithopods, theropods, and sauropods. Ornithopods were a group of two-legged, herbivorous animals that were one of the longest-lasting lineages of dinosaurs.

Otavio Lino – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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