Dinosaur Tracks

Rovereto boasts Italy's largest deposit of fossilised dinosaur prints

Orme dei Dinosauri

Monte Zugna, the mountain overlooking the town of Rovereto, hosts the largest deposit of fossilised dinosaur footprints ever found in Italy. Here hundreds of tracks of herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs have come to light, dating back to the Jurassic era 200 million years ago, when the rock on Monte Zugna formed a lime mud bank of the Tethys Ocean. Two sets of dinosaur tracks are easily visible on a steep gully: one set lower down, about a hundred metres from the forestry road and the other about fifty metres above it.


A large number of herbivorous dinosaur footprints, still in an excellent state of preservation, can be seen along the educational trail, which features descriptive panels. Some of the most interesting examples are rounded prints of heels being dragged through the mud as the animals walked, three outlines of front hoofs and little mounds of mud which formed at the sides with every step the animals took.


The dinosaurs inhabiting Trentino belonged to the larger Ornithischian (bird-hipped) order, were 5 to 6 metres in length including the tail and weighed between one and two tons; they were herbivores and travelled at a speed of 3 - 5 kilometres per hour. Carnivorous Theropod dinosaurs, which were smaller in size, closely followed the large herbivores waiting for an opportunity to attack any that became isolated from the herd.

 



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