Fossilized Footprints in Abiego, Spain

June 18, 2021

Best of Landschaft - 348 of 672

Photographer: Martin Ripsam

Summary Authors: Martin Ripsam & Cadan Cummings

Nearby the town of Abiego in the northeast of Spain, there exists a 100-foot (30 meter) long rock feature covered with around 1100 ichnites (fossilized footprints).  These ancient tracks preserved in the limestone rock date back to the Oligocene Epoch approximately 33 million years ago, a period when the landscape was comprised largely of grasslands. The ichnites present at this site were produced by mammal species in the genera Anoplotherium, a common ancestor of cows, camels, giraffes, and pigs, and Entelodont, a family of mammals very similar to today's wild boars. This paleontological record has been maintained because of tectonic activity in the region around the Pyrenees shifting the landscape to become a vertical rock feature, which prevented many forms of weathering. To further protect the historic site, a stone wall was constructed at the top of the slope to prevent erosion and damage from falling rock debris.