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Dinosaurs in Zimbabwe

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Dinosaurs in Zimbabwe
Palaeontological experts who have studied this trackway of footprints are non-specific about the type of beast that made them.

Yes, it’s true, there once were dinosaurs in Zimbabwe… hundreds of millions of years ago dinosaurs roamed the Zambezi Valley, the remote southern part of the World Heritage Site that comprises Mana Pools National Park and the Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas. Well… to be clear, there are no dinosaurs but only their tracks, fossilised in ancient mud deposits which have emerged out of an eroded modern-day river bed.

Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

Palaeontological experts who have studied this trackway of footprints are non-specific about the type of beast that made them.  All they will say is that the dinner-plate-sized “three-toe’d” prints, some of which have clear claw markings, are those of a huge carnivorous “theropod” of the Mid-Late Jurassic period.  That’s about 200 million years ago! It appears that these meat-eating reptiles hunted in packs and may have predated on their more docile vegetarian cousins, known as “sauropods”, fossil footprints of which have also been found in the vicinity.

Visiting the dinosaur trackway is not for the faint-hearted.  It’s in very remote hunting country, permission to visit is required from the Zimbabwean Parks Authority and an armed guide is essential for the walk in. But it’s a fascinating sight and a sobering reminder that giants far more terrifying than elephants once roamed the landscape in this part of Africa. To visit Zimbabwe please contact JENMAN African Safaris for further information – email us at info@jenmansafaris.com

Source: Wild Zambezi newsletter July 2009

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