'Dinosaur ancestors found'
Footprints of prehistoric creatures seen in Dolomites24 March, 18:06
"The outline of some of the footprints is unique and suggests they may belong to a species of prehistoric reptile hitherto unknown to science," palaeontologists from the museum said.
The tracks date back some 242 million years, or "immediately before the dinosaurs appeared," they said.
Some of the prints may have been made by "a common ancestor of several dinosaurs as well as many of today's crocodiles and lizards".
The find was made in the Vallarsa valley, in the foothills of the Small Dolomites, in the dried-up and eroded beds of mountain streams.
"The way the rocky striations run leads us to believe there could well be more tracks still hidden underneath," the scientists said.
photo: a dinosaur show