Aset of five-toed tracks that cut across Lesotho have long been considered a mystery. They were made hundreds of millions of years ago, and puzzled scientists have dubbed them "phantom footprints" as the animal that left them was regarded as extinct. But now the mystery may have been solved by a surprise discovery in a museum 8,000km away. Scientists at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have discovered a new species of dicynodont, a mammal-like reptile that had two tusks and a turtle-like beak. They believe a dicynodont might have left the footprints. What remains baffling is that these prints are intermingled with dinosaur spoor. "In the years following the discovery of the tracks some scientists argued that they were dicynodonts, but since then they have been largely disregarded," says Christian Kammerer, research curator of palaeontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. "Some recent papers have flat-out said they are not dicynodonts, as they were exti...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now