If we close our eyes for a moment, with a bit of imagination, we can visualize a distant landscape: a beach which extends as far as the eye can see, a calm sea which ripples against the shore, a pure blue sky, the tranquil air of a warm climate. Strange creatures are moving slowly through this scene: flying reptiles, marine reptiles, and a multitude of terrestrial animals which science has called “dinosaurs”.
Dinosauri nelle Dolomiti – Recenti scoperte sulle impronte di dinosauro nelle Dolomiti
By Paolo Mietto, Matteo Belvedere, Mara Barbuni
2a edizione ampliata: luglio 2014
Illustrations by Fabio Manucci
Angelini Foundation in collaboration with the University of Padua (Department of Geosciences), the Cooperative of Cortina.
110 pages with colour illustrations – Dimensions: 14,8 cm x 21 cm x 0,8 cm
This fantastical landscape is distant in time yet proximate in space. It is the ancestor of the panorama which today, if we reopen our eyes and turn them upward, we can take in with a view toward the Tre Cime, the Cinque Torre, Lagazuoi, the Tofane, and the many other striking rock sculptures of the Dolomites. Two-hundred and thirty million years ago, in the period geologists refer to as the Triassic, and palaeontologists define as the beginning of the era of the dinosaurs, the place occupied today by the Dolomites appeared as a tropical beach. This volume was written to tell the story of the evolutionary change which transformed the sand and crystalline sea into a reef of rock giants.
The sources for reconstruction of this landscape history are fossils. The book follows the traces of paleontological remains which are scattered on the surface, and in the heart of the Dolomite Mountains, teaching us about the ancient animals which left these traces behind. Their fossilized imprints allow us to read their landscape.
Our mountains are custodians of fossilized remains of these dinosaurs which lived millions of years ago — the oldest dinosaurs to appear on earth — their physical records merit rediscovery and attentive study. This volume is proposed to help the mountain walker in their research. After a brief introduction on the ichnology of vertebrates (the discipline which involves the study of fossilized imprints, the reader is given the basic instruments to distinguish fossilized imprints, such that they might observe the rock with a more attentive and investigative eye. From amateur mountain walker, the reader can transform into a detective of the past and thus open their eyes to traces of the existence of ancient creatures. The volume describes the most important sites with fossilized imprints in the Dolomites, beginning with the first site discovered (among the first in Italy) on Pelmetto, within easy access on a comfortable trail; and that of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo where a boulder with footprints can be found at the beginning of the trail as if to welcome excursionists. The most recent discoveries, at the summit of Mount Pelmo and on Mount Moiazza, are described yet are still in a preliminary phase of study.
The description of each site is embedded in geological and paleontological context for a clear representation – using also photography and illustrations — of Triassic environments and the animals that populated them.