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A monster on the road

The authentic replica of the dinosaur known as Barquiosaur, situated on a hill in Villar del Río, surprises the traveller when he comes to Soria's Tierras Altas (highlands).

In Villar del Río, in the Soria highlands, an unexpected visitor makes the unreal come true. A 25 metre long monster, measuring more than 12 metres in height and weighing 40 tons jumps out at the tourist as soon as he turns the corner. It is the likeness of the Barquiosaurio, a dinosaur that seems to have come out of the big screen, manipulated by Spielberg. Instructions manual: herbivorous, from the Jurassic and, for the moment, the inhabitants have not heard him growl nor snort. They say that it is a reproduction that has been in Soria's Tierras Altas for more than ten years and that it forms part of the signposting on the Ruta de las Icnitas, which, in Latin, means "fossilized footprints".

The icnitas or footprints in the province of Soria are considered to be the oldest, although similar sediments do exist in other Communities like La Rioja or Teruel. The dinosaur print also appears in Burgos. Nowadays we can see these specimens due to the fact that, in those times, there were large areas covered in mud and clay.

Villar del Río is one of the points on this route where the tourist will find claws which, due to their shape, look as though they belong to giant hens, which confirm that great reptiles used to inhabit these lands between 150 and 130 million years ago. In this town, to be precise, at the crossroads between Soria, Calahorra and El Valle de Cidacos, one of the most important findings of prints is located. This is the Yacimiento de Fuentelsalvo, where there are dinosaur markings. Furthermore, in the paleontology hall, the traveller will find the answers to his questions on how the prints were formed, how these animals lived and why they disappeared.

But the Barquiosaurio is not the only replica that jumps out onto the road. New reproductions like the Triceratops in Bretún, the Iguanodon in Ventosa de San Pedro or the Parasaurolophus in Garray act as signposts throughout the route. They lead the traveller to the most important print findings , found in sediments pertaining to the Lower Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic era. The most significant ones are in Villar del Río, Bretún, Santa Cruz de Yanguas and Yanguas.

The majority of these sediments in the province of Soria belong to bipeds, in other words, dinosaurs that walked on two feet; and tridactyls, with three toes. Also, the thickness and size of the phalanges indicate that they were herbivorous.

The route ends with wonderful landscape. Throughout the entire journey the hard tracks, with no slopes and rounded by the wind, become the protagonists along with the clean, clear skies, which were there during the entire trip.

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