Cal Orck'o

Cal Orck’o in Bolivia is the largest dinosaur track site in the world and since 1998 this location has seen intensive work to document and scientifically assess the footprints. Our research project concerns firstly the investigation of traces (ichnology) and sedimentology at the El Molino Formation. Secondly, in cooperation with the local authorities, concepts are being devised for the conservation and sustainable use of the find spot.

We found the dinosaur tracks in a quarry near Sucre (Bolivia) at the end of the last century. It is the largest known dinosaur track site in the world, with more than 12,000 single footprints over a 1.6 km long, 120 metre-wide surface. They are the imprints of large sauropods, small and large theropods and ornithopods. Remarkable is the presence of Ankylosaurus tracks, a global rarity.

A cast of a dinosaur track, roughly 8 metres long, is displayed at the stairwell of the Natural History Museum Basel. At the end of the Cretaceous period, shortly before dinosaurs became extinct, there was a freshwater lake in the vicinity of the present city of Sucre and evidence suggests that numerous dinosaurs roamed its shores.

Our researchers have been to Bolivia five times since 1998, most recently in April 2015. The local authorities asked us to prepare an analysis with the aim of securing Natural World Heritage status for the site. At the same time, a current and complete inventory of the tracks at Cal Orck'o has been drawn up and is due to be published.