A team of paleontologists found a fossilized footprint measuring 1.15 meters (3.77 feet) wide of a bipedal, carnivorous dinosaur that lived in what is now southern Bolivia about 80 million years ago, and this is the largest such footprint ever found to date in the landlocked South American nation, the scientists said.
The Abelisaurus footprint - found in the Maragua zone, in the municipality of Sucre about 64 kilometers (40 miles) from the same-named city - could be one of the largest footprints of this species ever found anywhere in the world, paleontologist Omar Medina, with the Bolivian Paleontology Network, told EFE.
Medina said that the footprint is 78-80 million years old and emphasized the importance of Maragua for paleontology, given that nearby thousands of other footprints and tracks of other dinosaurs - both carnivores and herbivores - have been found.
Argentine paleontologist Sebastian Apestiguia, who verified the find, told the daily La Razon that the print "is much larger" than others of the same species that had been found to date.
He added that the dinosaur could have measured more than 12 meters (39.4 feet) in length, while other carnivorous dinosaurs from the end of the Cretaceous Period in South America normally attain a maximum size of about 9 meters (29.5 feet), meaning that the recently-found print would set "a record."
Paleontological guide Grover Marquina found the Abelisaurus print about two weeks ago while exploring the zone to design a tourist route at the behest of the Sucre city administration, a project in which Medina participated as part of the Viceministry of Science and Technology.
The Cal Orck'o region in Sucre municipality is of international importance because more than 10,000 dinosaur footprints have been found there.