Largest known deinonychus footprints discovered in Fujian

A photo taken on May 7, 2024 shows the dinosaur-track site discovered in Longyan, Fujian Province, China. /CFP

A photo taken on May 7, 2024 shows the dinosaur-track site discovered in Longyan, Fujian Province, China. /CFP

The largest known deinonychus footprints in the world have been discovered at the Longxian dinosaur-track site in Longyan, Fujian Province. As a result, a new species, “Fujianipus yingliangi,” has been named. This announcement was made by a team of domestic and overseas scientists led by the China University of Geosciences and the Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum on May 6.

The dinosaur footprints that cover a large area at the Longxian track site in Fujian are well preserved, and are diverse in number and type. Currently, the site has yielded footprints of at least eight species of track-making dinosaurs, including large sauropods, ornithopods, large three-toed theropods, two-toed deinonychosaurs, and small theropods. Among them, there are twelve footprints of two-toed deinonychosaurs, which can be clearly divided into different types based on their size and morphology.

A photo taken on May 7, 2024 shows the dinosaur-track site discovered in Longyan, Fujian Province, China. /CFP

A photo taken on May 7, 2024 shows the dinosaur-track site discovered in Longyan, Fujian Province, China. /CFP

Xing Lida, an associate professor at the China University of Geosciences, noted that the remarkably large two-toed footprints consist of six specimens, five of which form a track. These footprints have an average length of about 36.4 centimeters and a width of 16.9 centimeters, far exceeding the length of the previously discovered Shandong Chilong footprints (28.5 centimeters), making them the largest deinonychosaur footprints found in China and even worldwide.

Morphologically, these remarkable large two-toed footprints do not conform to the characteristics of any previously established deinonychosaur footprint genera. Based on the research requirements, the joint scientific expedition team established a new footprint classification group, namely “Fujianipus yingliangi.”

The Longxian track site is the best-preserved, largest, and most diverse Late Cretaceous period dinosaur track site discovered in China to date, said Niu Kecheng, curator of the Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum. At the same time, the discovery of Fujianipus yingliangi significantly expands the size range of deinonychosaur footprints, demonstrating the enormous research potential of the Longxian track site. It is also of great significance for the study of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs in China.