- Two dinosaur footprints were discovered by a customer at a restaurant in Sichuan province, China.
- The footprints belonged to sauropods from the Cretaceous period.
- It's rare to find remnants from China's Cretaceous period, a paleontologist said.
Dinosaurs footprints from over 100 million years ago were accidentally discovered by a customer eating in the courtyard of a restaurant in China, The Washington Post reported.
The footprints belonged to two dinosaurs that roamed the Sichuan province, paleontologists discovered.
Lida Xing, a paleontologist and associate professor at the China University of Geosciences, told CNN the footprints belonged to sauropods, who are known for their long necks and tails. Sauopods were the largest animals on Earth.
"Sauropod tracks are not rare in Sichuan Basin … but they are very rare[ly] found in restaurants in downtown," Xing told the Post in an email. "Most of the time, the ground of the city is either vegetation or cement."
These sauropods roamed Earth during the Cretaceous period, Xing told CNN. She said that while finding dinosaur prints in the province isn't uncommon, it's rare to discover prints from the Cretaceous era when "dinosaurs really flourished."
Xing said she estimated that the two footprints likely belonged to sauropods measuring 26 feet long, CNN reported.
According to CNN, the restaurant where the footprints were found only opened in the past year. Before that, the area was a chicken farm, and layers of dirt helped protect the footprints from erosion.
Xing told CNN that the restaurant owner put up a fence around the footprints to stop people from stepping on them. He might also build a shed to further preserve them.
"This discovery is actually like a jigsaw, adding a piece of evidence to Sichuan's Cretaceous period and the diversity of dinosaurs," Xing said.