The footprints of giants

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Science  23 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6344, pp. 1224-1226
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6344.1224

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Chinese paleontologist Xing Lida has gained fame for his collection of stunning amber-encased fossils, including one specimen holding a 99-million-year-old baby dinosaur tail and another preserving the remains of an equally ancient baby bird. But his true passion is studying dinosaur footprints for clues toward constructing a comprehensive map showing where and in which ages dinosaurs roamed through Asia and how different species interacted. His passion has taken him to more than 100 sites scattered through all but two of China's 33 provinces. In most cases, he was the first scientist to study the prints. But he's in a hurry. China's breakneck pace of development is swallowing fossil footprint beds nearly as fast as they are being discovered.