April 12, 2024

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Ancient humans left drawings next to dinosaur footprints in Brazil

Ancient humans left drawings next to dinosaur footprints in Brazil

It seems that the ancient people of South America were inspired by the traces of fossilized dinosaurs in what is now eastern Brazil, where they cut shapes in the rock, imprinted by the movements of giants tens of millions of years ago.

Dinosaur tracks belong to theropods, sauropods and iguanodonids, and are scattered across three rocky outcrops in the Brazilian state of Paraíba. The petroglyphs found at the site consist mainly of circular patterns, but many of them closely resemble the tracks of three-toed dinosaurs also found at the site. It was the research of the team that cataloged the petroglyphs and associated trails published in Scientific reports.

Neither the tracks nor the petroglyphs have been directly dated, but human burials dating back 10,000 years have been found at two nearby sites. One of these sites, Pedra de Alexandre, has burials spanning from 9,400 years ago to 2,620 years ago, suggesting that there is still a wide time frame in which the petroglyphs could have been carved. But the placement of the petroglyphs and the design of some of the figures are clearly inspired by much older paths.

Theropods were a group of bipedal, often carnivorous creatures T-Rex And all modern birds. Sauropods were large, herbivorous quadrupeds that were easily recognizable because of their long necks, if not their massive bodies. Iguanodonians It was a group of bipedal herbivores that included the serrated and called thumbs iguanodon, As well as duck-billed hadrosaurs.

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A dinosaur track (left), a modern track that mimics it (center), and a petroglyph that appears to mimic a dinosaur track (right).

Brazil was once a breeding ground for an array of ancient beasts, including dinosaurs and their winged counterparts (pterosaurs). And other ancient reptiles. In reality, Fossil smuggling from Brazil It remains an annoying problem for the authorities.

The proximity of the petroglyphs to fossilized footprints reveals “active interaction with fossil material, suggesting that these footprints not only caught the attention of the indigenous community, but were meaningful and became integrated into their cognitive repertoire,” the team wrote.

No petroglyphs interfered with or damaged the footprints on the site — “suggesting the thoughtfulness of the makers of these monuments,” they wrote. Absolute dating of petroglyphs using X-ray spectroscopy can reveal when they were made, perhaps over centuries, by different groups.

The team cites petroglyphs found at the nearby archaeological site of Junko, which depict a variety of geometric shapes resembling stars, wheels, flowers, and (if you squint) buildings. The team concluded that the petroglyphs were composed by multiple people, based on the difference in style between the figures. Some shapes and paths were severely damaged by flaking rocks.

ria in brazil.

ria in brazil.
picture: Rob Jansen (Stock struggle)

Given ancient South America's lack of modern understanding of dinosaurs, the team added that petroglyph makers may have mistaken the dinosaur tracks for Rhea's footprints. Rhesus are modern theropod dinosaurs, the largest bird in Brazil, and native to the same area as the fossil site.

That may be so, but unlike the traces of the real Rhea seen by those ancient societies, the ones in the rock at Paraíba have not disappeared. This gave the prints some importance to the local community, as evidenced by the ancient artworks placed alongside them.

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