Our Ancestors Knew Of Dinosaurs And Possibly Even Had Rituals Regarding Them


A new study shows that people in Brazil used to carve pictures into the rock next to dinosaur footprints. This means that the people thought the footprints were important or interesting.

The marks on rocks are known as petroglyphs by scientists. Their location is Serrote do Letreiro in Paraíba, a farming state on the eastern coast of Brazil. Scientists first saw the marks in 1975. A new field scan with the help of drones found carvings that had not been seen before. This makes it more likely that they are connected to the tracks. The Cretaceous Period took place 66 million years ago and was home to dinosaurs. The tracks show how they moved.

One of the historians who worked on the study and is based at Brasilia’s Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage said, “Most people think that Indigenous people didn’t know what was going on around them or weren’t interested in science or technology.” “But that’s not true. It’s clear that they were interested in the songs. Those who made the prints were interested in them and thought they might mean something. They may or may not have known about dinosaurs.

There is other rock art near dinosaur tracks, but the Serrote do Letreiro petroglyphs are the best proof of a link between the two that they have ever seen. The people who wrote the study think this could have big effects on the studies of fossils, archaeology, and cultural artifacts.

Math-Based Shapes

We don’t know how old the petroglyphs are. But the study, which came out in March in the journal Scientific Reports, says that radiocarbon dating has shown that the graveyards are between 9,400 and 2,620 years old. It follows that the people who lived there at the time of the burials were still alive. Troiano stated, “These people were probably living in small groups and using the many natural rock shelters that are in the area.”

This part of Brazil doesn’t have any shade, so it’s hard to cut the rock while standing there. It’s like Australia’s Far North. “They were very deliberate when they chose this location because it takes a lot of work,” he noted. They might have been able to use many other rocks in the area instead of this one.

There may have been more than one artist who worked on the drawings because they are in different styles. There are some that look like plants and others that look more like squares, boxes, and rounds. Troiano said that the rings might look like stars because of the crosses or lines inside them. Still, it’s not clear what these marks mean. He stated, “They all seem vague, and if they meant something to the people who made them, we don’t know what it is.”

There are tracks from three different kinds of dinosaurs at Serrote do Letreiro. These are from ornithopods, theropods, and sauropods. Researchers think that the people who carved the rock may have thought that some of the marks were from rheas, which are large local birds that look a lot like ostriches and have tracks that look a lot like theropod dinosaur tracks.

People from the past made sauropod prints, which are very different from any animal they would have known because sauropods were some of the biggest dinosaurs that only ate plants. There is less of a clear link between the drawings and these particular pictures, the study said. This most likely happened because of this.

Ceremonies For Dinosaurs

Troiano said he thinks the marks might have been made by the dinosaurs when they got together as a group. “I think that making rock art was part of some kind of ritual: people getting together to make something, maybe while high on drugs.” He stated, “We still use jurema, a plant that makes people feel high.” We think that people have used it in the past because it’s so popular and easy to find in the area. They were interested enough in the tracks to figure out what they were, which is likely why they called them stamps. They knew it wasn’t a stroke of luck.

There are other petroglyphs in the US and Poland that are close to dinosaur footprints, but Troiano said they don’t show “nearly the same level of intentionality.” It’s not enough to know that the lines and pictures are close to each other; they also need to touch. The study says it shows “thoughtfulness” on the part of the makers if they don’t cross.

After the study, Troiano said he is working on a second paper that will explain how to read and understand the Serrote do Letreiro petroglyphs in more depth. This paper will add to what the first study found.

A professor of archaeology at Kraków, Poland’s Jagiellonian University, Radosław Palonka, says that the direct link between the drawings and dinosaur fossil tracks is one of a kind and may help us understand the meaning and value of rock art better. Palonka has worked on petroglyphs like these before, but he wasn’t part of the study.

Palonka wrote a message, “The fact that the rock art panels were placed in specific places is shown by the fact that members of the communities that made the paintings or petroglyphs often put them very close to older images left by other cultures.” If you look at rock art from around the world, this is often the case. One place where it’s easy to see is in the U.S. Southwest or the Southwest of North America. This is where my science interests lie.

Jan Simek, a famous anthropology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who wasn’t involved with the new petroglyphs study, said, “The paper gives an interesting new example of how ancient people looked at fossils in the landscape and used them in their religious experiences and interpretations.”

A scientist history professor at Stanford University named Adrienne Mayor has shown how people in ancient Greece and Rome thought fossils were proof of monsters and giants from their own stories. Native people in North America also saw fossils as proof of their own stories about how they came to be, Simek said in an email. “The Brazil case is another archaeological example of how people tend to connect the spiritual world they make up in their minds to strange things happening in the real world.”