August 30, 1998

                  Bolivian site is dinosaur paradise -scientist

                  GENEVA, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Dinosaur tracks discovered on a cliffside in
                  Bolivia show that many species of the creatures that ruled the earth for
                  millions of years lived side by side, according to a Swiss paleontologist.

                  Christian Meyer of the University of Basle, just back from the site of Cal
                  Orcko near the city of Sucre, told the newspaper Le Matin that it was a
                  "dinosaur El Dorado" and probably the world's most important site for their

                  Meyer said the some 3,000 footprints making up 250 different tracks over
                  the cliff face of 25,000 square metres dated from 68 million years ago, or
                  three million years before dinosaurs were wiped out, apparently when a vast
                  meteor hit the planet.

                  "The most extraordinary thing is the diversity of the species represented and
                  the fact that they all date back to the same period," he told the newspaper.

                  Tracks identified included those of a meat-eating therapod that could grow
                  up to seven metres long, a lumbering titanosaurus which measured 15 to 25
                  metres, a smaller, armoured ankylosaurus, and vegetarian ornithopods which
                  walked on two feet.

                  "The whole carnival, the whole range is there," said Meyer.

                  "This is the first site which makes it possible to show that these species lived
                  at the same time and in the same place until just before their extinction."

                  Many other dinosaur tracks have been found around the world, especially in
                  the mid-West of the United States in the Rocky Mountains and some in
                  Switzerland high in the Alps near the border with France and Italy east of
                  Mont Blanc.

                  But at the Bolivian site, Meyer said, the number and variety of prints was the
                  greatest yet discovered.

                  One theropod track was 350 metres long. Some prints left by the larger
                  dinosaurs -- first identified as a common group in 1841 by early British
                  paleontologist Richard Owen -- were 60 cm across.

                  The area of the Bolivian site was once covered by a vast freshwater lake.
                  The dinosaur tracks were made along its shores in heavy mud which then
                  solidified and filled with loose shale, as in similar sites elsewhere.

                  Later volcanic activity raised the bank, turning it into a towering cliff whose
                  local name means "Chalk Mountain."

                  Meyer said the tracks were first found in the early 1980s by workers at a
                  local cement quarry, but it was not until 1994 that a Bolivian geologist
                  identified them as dinosaur footprints.

                  The 42-year-old scientist, with a grant from Switzerland's National Fund for
                  Scientific Research and backing from private sponsors, led a 15-member
                  international team to carry out a full survey of Cal Orcko over six weeks in
                  July and August.

                  He said they had made silicone copies of the most interesting prints, using
                  mountaineering techniques to scale the sheer cliff face.

                  Another discovery in the area was the fossil of a flying reptile 40 cm long.
                  Most paleontologists now believe that smaller dinosaur survivors of the
                  meteor holocaust 65 million years ago evolved into birds.

                  Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.