Speed Reads

Dino Discovery

Paleontologists find dinosaur tracks in African diamond mine

Paleontologists find dinosaur tracks in African diamond mine

The Catoca diamond mine in Angola, the fourth-largest diamond mine in Africa, has yielded some surprising contents — and not just the diamonds.

The mine is home to 118-million-year-old footprints from dinosaurs, crocodiles, and large mammals. Researchers found nearly 70 different forms of tracks, including 18 sets of sauropod dinosaur tracks that date to the early Cretaceous period. The discovery marks the first dinosaur tracks found in Angola and the first vertebrate fossils found in Angola's inlands.

The finds are especially noteworthy because the mammal tracks are unusually large — most Cretaceous mammals were the size of rats. But the mammal footprints in the Catoca mine are roughly the size of a raccoon.

Geologist Vladimir Pervov first discovered the mammal tracks in 2010, and contacted Octavio Mateus, a paleontologist, who found the dinosaur tracks. The Catoca location stopped mining for nearly eight months to allow paleontologists to study the tracks.