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Baby dino tracks


ONLY just hatched and new to the world, the little guy who left these prints in the riverbed was probably running for its life. Barely 10 centimetres tall, the hatchling would have been the length of a wren and easy prey for pterosaurs and other hungry dinosaurs.

The prints are the tiniest dinosaur footprints ever found. They were left between 125 and 110 million years ago, are just 1.27 cm and 1.51 cm long, and clearly show soft foot pads and three pointed claws.

Kyung Soo Kim of Chinju National University of Education in Jinju, South Korea, says the baby track-maker was a cousin of the fearsome T. Rex and belonged to the theropod sub-order, which includes tyrannosaurs.

"It was running to hide right after hatching," Kim speculates. It had plenty of reasons to do so: nearby tracks show it shared its home with fleet-footed, meat-eating dromeosaurs, such as Velociraptor, together with other dinosaurs, pterosaurs and shorebirds.