5-Year-Old Boy from China Stumbles Across 130 Million-Years-Old Dinosaur Footprint
A science-loving Chinese boy has just discovered 130 million-year-old fossilised footprints of s dinosaur | Image (left) for representation | Credit: Reuters/Twitter
At the age when most kids are still memorising rhymes and poems, a five-year-old boy in China has made himself well-versed with Cretaceous and Jurassic dinosaurs.
During a family trip to a rural village, the child managed to identify five dinosaur footprints as old as 130 million years. Yang Zherui, the paleo-enthusiast boy, saw the mysterious markings and suggested they could be ancient dinosaur footprints, fossilized by the passage of time. Much to everybody’s surprise, a scientist has backed his claims.
According to a report in Daily Mail, locals had witnessed the prints many times but no one ever thought to link them with dinosaurs. Zherui is reported to love science and enjoys attending classes about dinosaurs.
The news of the prints had interested the boy and he requested his parents to take him there for a visit. These prints were found in Sichuan province of South-West China. He closely observed the markings and told his mother they could be from an ancient bird-like dinosaur, something he had learned about earlier. While most parents would barely humour their wild claims like these, his parents knew when to take him seriously. They contacted a dinosaur specialist, Xing Lida, a professor at the China University of Geosciences.
Upon expert analysis, the prints were connected to therapods. The therapod is a diverse clade of Cretaceous dinosaurs who are believed to evolve into birds. During the Jurassic period, they had already evolved and changed with more avian features like three-toes and hollow limbs. However, the prints belong to the Cretaceous era, nearly 130 million years ago.
The discovery would never have been made if the boy hadn’t left his home in urban Chengdu to visit his grandfather in Bahzong. There he heard tales that weird “chicken-feet” like markings were spotted in a nearby village. The family left with tools to help them locate the prints in the wild. Once they found it and the boy made his guesses, his mother took pictures and used Weibo to text the professor. Weibo is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter as most social networks of the world are banned in the country. Xing saw potential in the images and left for the village on Friday.
Xing suggested that this is only the beginning as they would continue to study the tracks. There might even be an exhibition in the future.