Pegadas de Dinossáurios da Serra de Aire Natural Monument – Fátima, Portugal - Atlas Obscura
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Pegadas de Dinossáurios da Serra de Aire Natural Monument

Fátima, Portugal

The ancient sauropod footprints found in this former quarry are some of the largest in the world. 

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In the north of Portugal’s Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park is an amazing collection of dinosaur footprints, some of the longest in the world.

Before this site was a natural monument, it was a quarry. One day in July 1994, a young man discovered a set of footprints, then it was made a contract with the owner Rui Galinha. The site has been studied by scientists, and in 1997 it was turned into a Natural Monument.

The animals were walking in a great mudflat, you can clearly see the ripples in the rocks. Millions of years of geological interactions later, the footprints still remain in what is now the Serra de Aire mountain range. The footprints are well around 175 million years old, and were created by sauropods, a type of dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic Period. Sauropods were large, powerful, quadrupeds with small heads, and long tails and necks. They were herbivorous, feeding on massive amounts of tropical vegetation.

There are about a number of footprints preserved in the limestone, the longest of which measures 482 feet (147 meters) long, making this one of the places in the world with the longest dinosaur tracks. After walking a bit through the thicket and going down to the quarry itself, visitors can get a closer look. There is also an educational trail, where visitors can learn more about the history of the Earth by viewing informational panels. Large statues of sauropods were installed, so visitors can understand the scale of the creatures that once roamed the landscape.

Know Before You Go

Around 120 kilometers and an hour and a half drive from the center of Lisbon.

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