Data: The rise and fall of Earth's species

updated 6/2/2004 6:23:10 PM ET 2004-06-02T22:23:10

The Geological Museum in Copenhagen on Wednesday received two fossil footprints left by a pair of Jurassic-era dinosaurs about 170 million years ago and believed to be the first of their kind found on the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm.

The largest footprint, measuring 28 inches (70 centimeters) across, was believed to have been left by a sauropod, a plant-eating dinosaur with a long neck and tail, small head and measuring as long as 66 feet (20 meters). The other print likely was left by a smaller ankylosaur, a four-legged, thickly armored plant eater, the museum said.

It was the first time that footprints were found on Bornholm, a rocky island that sits between southern Sweden and northern Poland.

During the Jurassic age, the island enjoyed a tropical climate with a rich vegetation and was not beneath the sea like the rest of Denmark, Jesper Milan, a doctoral geology student at the University of Copenhagen, told the Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

Milan, who could not immediately be reached for comment, made the discovery last month. He found the marks on two rocks that had fallen from a cliff onto the beach along Bornholm’s western coast.

Since 2000, geologists have found a velociraptor’s tooth, and the tooth from another sauropod on Bornholm.

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