Situated near the city of Sucre, the huge Cal Orck’o archaeological site is located on a cliff just 5kms from the city center. It has a slope of 73 degrees, is 80 meters (260 ft) high and 1,200 meters (3,900 ft) long. Discovered on the grounds of the local cement company (Sucre’s Fabrica Nacional de Cemento SA/Fancesa), it´s the largest concentration of dinosaur tracks in the world.

Sauropodomorpha footprints footprints in Cal Orcko. Photo Credit
Sauropodomorpha footprints footprints in Cal Orcko. Photo Credit

The footprints were first discovered by miners in 1985, but it was only between 1994 and 1998 that the site’s importance was fully realized. In 1994, workers discovered a huge limestone wall, 1.2 km long and 80 meters high, that was absolutely covered by thousands of dinosaur footprints.

The footprints remained covered until the 1990s, when Fancesa company mined away the sedimentary layers for use in the production of concrete. Photo Credit
The footprints remained covered until the 1990s, when Fancesa company mined away the sedimentary layers for use in the production of concrete. Photo Credit

Four years later, a scientific team led by Swiss paleontologist Christian Meyer investigated the wall. According to him, the discovery marks an enormous contribution to humanity and to science, revealing data heretofore unknown and “documenting the high diversity of dinosaurs better than any other site in the world”.

The dinosaur tracks of the Cal Orck’o paleontological bed date from 68 million years ago and there are more than 5,000 footprints from 293 species of dinosaurs, all made during the second half of the Cretaceous period. The location used to be the shore of a former lake, which, as an important water sauce, attracted a large number of both herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs.

It is amazing that almost all of the prints are so well preserved that scientists can tell exactly what species they were made by. Some of the dinosaurs whose tracks have been found are the Ankylosaurus, the Titanosaur, and Carnotaurus. Perhaps, the most spectacular set of tracks is 347 meters long, the longest dinosaur trackway ever found, and was made by a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex nicknamed “Johnny Walker” by researchers.

Most impressive of these is the world-record setting 347-meter trail left by a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex known as “Johnny Walker”. Photo Credit
Most impressive of these is the world-record setting 347-meter trail left by a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex known as “Johnny Walker”. Photo Credit

In 2010, a section of the wall broke off, destroying some of the tracks but revealing another layer underneath. It is believed that there are multiple layers of tracks below the currently visible top layer.

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