BBC News: “Yemen Embraces its Jurassic Past” The locals in the village of Madar, Yemen, are finally learning that the fossilized footprints running around their town weren’t made by giant camels!
Villagers have been well aware of the footprints for generations, but it was only after a tip-off from a local journalist that scientists became aware of the prints. The footprints—some of which are a foot and a half (0.5m) wide—have since been identified as belonging to a herd of eleven dinosaurs, walking together. This is the first discovery of dinosaur footprints anywhere on the Arabian Peninsula.
The footprints . . . have since been identified as belonging to a herd of eleven dinosaurs, walking together.
Of particular interest is that the dinosaur tracks are lying, exposed, at the surface of the ground, and have been like that for centuries. According to villager Yahir Saleh Arshami, “Before these tracks were named, we believed they were footprints from giant camels. But now they tell us they are from dinosaurs—we were extremely surprised. Luckily I built my house around the footprints so as not to disturb them.”
Dr. Mohammed al-Wosabi of Yemen’s University of Sana’a was the first scientist to view the prints. “These prints were made on limestone rock, which is only deposited in shallow marine areas, so we know these dinosaurs were living in a beach-type environment,” he explained. The BBC News report claims that the tracks are 150 million years old—allegedly before the Red Sea separated Arabia from Africa.
All the dinosaur prints, however, are not identical. The eleven dinosaurs seem to have been a mix of smaller, bipedal ornithopods and larger, quadrapedal sauropods. Interestingly, according to Dr. Wosabi, the footprints imply that the smaller dinosaurs walked quickly to keep pace with the larger ones, while the larger dinosaurs slowed their pace to allow the smaller ones to keep up. This is the first example of such social behavior in dinosaurs.
What may be “shocking” to News to Note readers, from a cultural point of view, is what the BBC reports about the villagers’ awareness of dinosaurs. The BBC’s Stephanie Hancock writes, “One of the biggest challenges for scientists who studied the prints was explaining to villagers what dinosaurs looked like.” Dr. Wosabi and other scientists brought along picture books to show the villagers “what dinosaurs were,” but the pictures only “surprised,” “stunned,” and “shocked” the villagers (in the words of Dr. Wosabi), when they saw the pictures showing what were certainly not camels!
Most of the villagers reportedly have since seen Jurassic Park and are now well aware of what dinosaurs were.
Don’t fret, though—most of the villagers reportedly have since seen Jurassic Park and are now well aware of what dinosaurs were. (What a testament to the power of Hollywood movies—accurate or not!) The villagers are also hoping more foreigners will visit their village.
As for the dinosaur footprints themselves, the basis for dating them at 150 million years old is simply because of the presupposition that dinosaurs lived no more recently than the Mesozoic Era—and thus the footprints must have been imprinted at that time. This is despite the fact that the footprints are on the surface of the village ground and have not eroded away in the supposed millions of years!
A more reasonable explanation is that the footprints were formed only thousands of years ago in a late Flood sediment, and they now remain as a reminder of creatures that once walked the earth: dinosaurs, not giant camels!
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