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“Ancient Brazilian Petroglyphs: Crafting Art Amidst Dinosaur Footprints”

A recent study reveals that as Dinosaur Footprints far back as 9,400 years ago, hunter-gatherers in what is now Brazil crafted numerous remarkable rock-art designs adjacent to the fossilized footprints of dinosaurs.

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Dinosaur Footprints

Published on March 19 in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers described these petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks, both dating to the Cretaceous period (145 million to 66 million years ago). Many of the petroglyphs, often depicting illustrations of the prints, are positioned a mere 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) from the fossilized marks, indicating a deliberate association.

Leonardo Troiano, the study’s lead author and an archaeologist from Brazil’s National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage, explained that those who created the petroglyphs likely chose the location precisely due to the presence of the footprints, making it impossible to overlook them.

Located about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Sousa municipality’s urban center in the northeastern state of Paraíba, the archaeological site, known as Serrote do Letreiro (Portuguese for “Signpost Hill”), lies near the renowned Valley of the Dinosaurs conservation area, home to hundreds of fossilized dinosaur footprints.

While knowledge of the fossilized dinosaur prints in the area dates back to the early 20th century, the rock art has received limited attention over the years, according to the study. Troiano noted that although at least one ancient engraving by the Kiriri, the primary Indigenous group in northeast Brazil, was previously known, the proximity between the petroglyphs and the dinosaur trackways had not been documented.

The petroglyphs, mainly featuring carvings of circles filled with lines and other geometric strokes, are attributed to small seminomadic groups of hunter-gatherers who inhabited the region between 9,400 and 2,620 years ago. These groups lived in society, relying on objects made from stones for their livelihood.

Without any organic remains suitable for radiocarbon dating, the researchers compared the art to similar archaeological sites in the region. For instance, petroglyphs at sites like Pedra do Alexandre, approximately 120 miles (200 km) west of Serrote do Letreiro, have been dated back to about 9,400 years ago through radiocarbon analyses of human burials.

The newly described carvings were made using two techniques: perforation and scraping. Perforation involved creating depressions on the surface with a stone hammer, resembling stippling, while scraping entailed rubbing a stone against the surface until the desired engraving emerged. In some cases, both techniques were combined to enhance visibility and depth.

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