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Scientists ID Largest Dino Foot Ever Found, 20 Years Later

Body part from Wyoming belongs to 'Bigfoot' brachiosaur
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2018 9:45 AM CDT
The scene of the 1998 dig during which the sauropod foot was found.   (Photo courtesy of the KUVP archives)
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(Newser) – "Bigfoot" has been found, just not the apish version. An international team of paleontologists has announced the discovery of the largest known dinosaur foot, which belonged to a close relative of the Brachiosaurus now dubbed "Bigfoot." Appropriately so, as a nearly complete left hind-foot fossil totaling 13 bones, found two decades ago in the Black Hills area of Wyoming alongside separate and smaller brachiosaur remains, shows the 80-foot-long sauropod had feet that were about 3 feet wide, report Live Science and Gizmodo. "There are tracks and other incomplete skeletons from Australia and Argentina that seem to be from even bigger animals, but those gigantic skeletons were found without the feet," researcher Emanuel Tschopp explains in a release. Described in journal PeerJ, "this beast was clearly one of the biggest that ever walked in North America."

Researchers, who compared the foot to those of other dino species, believe it came from a brachiosaur that lived 150 million years ago, making it the first brachiosaur foot known to come from North America's Late Jurassic Period, per Mashable. Though it's not enough to identify a specific species, it's evidence that brachiosaurs covered a larger area of North America, from eastern Utah to northwestern Wyoming, than previously known. "This is surprising" as "many other sauropod dinosaurs seem to have inhabited smaller areas," Tschopp says. Noting the discovery occurred "several hundreds of miles from where we thought these guys were," fellow researcher David Burnham will look to answer new questions: "Is it a different species than the brachiosaurs down south? Or maybe they were migrating north to south?" (These tire-sized dino prints hid in plain sight.)

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