PaleoAngola Field Season 2011 Entry 4

July 21. Dinosaur and mammal tracks at a diamond mine!!

Projecto PaleoAngola member Octávio Mateus visited the Catoca diamond mine between 15 and 17 of July 2011

to investigate vertebrate tracks reported by a geologist employed at the mine, Vladimir Pervov. Mateus not only

confirmed the occurrence of the originally reported tracks, but also discovered dinosaur tracks.



The originally reported tracks were probably produced by mammals or mammaliforme animals, which is very

unusual for the geological age of the sediments: Early Cretaceous. All the mammal tracks were recorded

(photographed, numbered and drawn), and collected, totalling about 70 distinct tracks. The dinosaur tracks

probably belong to sauropod dinosaurs and one of the tracks shows skin impressions. The dinosaur tracks were

not collected due to their fragile preservation, but they were documented and the skin impression was

collected.


The tracks from Catoca are scientifically important because of the setting and geological age. This is the first

occurrence of dinosaur or mammal tracks in Angola. Fossils from the Early Cretaceous of this region of Africa

are extremely rare and the occurrence of mammal tracks are even more rare anywhere in the Cretaceous.

 

We would like to express our gratitude to the Sociedade Mineira de Catoca, in particular, José Manuel Augusto

Ganga Jr. for the support and permissions, and also to Teófilo Assunção Rodrigues Chifunga for the logistical

support. Last but not least, we thank Vladimir Pervov for bringing the tracks to our attention and heping with

the field work, and especially his insights into the deposition of the sedimentary rocks in this unusual environment.