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That's no footprint, it's got no toes

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10:24am, August 28, 2001

A favorite spot among paleontologists and paleotourists, the rock formations near Isona, Spain, are famous for fossils of large bones and eggs. However, the sign that tells tourists about dinosaur footprints in one area may need updating.

At the site in question, thousands of oval depressions currently identified as prints dot the sandstone landscape, says Jordi Martinell, a paleontologist at the University of Barcelona. Ripples in the rocks and fossil crustacean burrows suggest that the site was a lagoon more than 65 million years ago.

On average, the oval indentations are 43 centimeters long and 34 cm wide, and there's about one of them every square meter over a broad area.

Scientists interpreted the pits as fossil footprints because of the area's abundance of dinosaur remains.

Upon close inspection, none of the supposed tracks includes the hallmarks of a large animal's footprint, Martinell notes. There are no traces of toes.

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