History | July 31, 2022 6:38 pm

Dinosaur Footprints Discovered in Chinese Restaurant

An unexpected paleontological find

Sichuan basin
The Sichuan basin, seen from orbit.
Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Dinosaurs aren’t on the menu at any contemporary restaurants — that would be a bizarre use of science — but a growing number of diners are discovering evidence of them as they eat their meals. A restaurant in the Sichuan province of China is the latest place where a customer correctly identified evidence of a dinosaur’s presence millions of years after the creatures in question walked the earth.

A new article at The Washington Post has more details about the discovery. As paleontologist Lida Xing told the Post, “Sauropod tracks are not rare in Sichuan Basin.” Finding them in a restaurant, however — that’s where things get a little more unexpected.

Two weeks ago, scientists verified that what the diner had identified as dinosaur tracks were exactly that — the footprints made 100 million years ago by two dinosaurs. Xing told the Post that she thinks that the dinosaurs were Titanosauriformes — a large sauropod species. The presence of “Titan” in its scientific name is no coincidence — these were massive creatures.

As the article notes, the diner in Sichuan isn’t the only person to find evidence of dinosaurs’ presence in plain sight. The Post also cites the example of geology professor Mark McMenamin, who took some stones from a construction site at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and discovered the elbow bone of a predatory dinosaur from 175 million years ago. It’s further evidence that links to the past can turn up where you’d least expect them.