Imagine sitting down to eat in the courtyard of an outdoor restaurant and observing something out of the ordinary. In this case, a customer at a Chinese restaurant noticed what was later confirmed to be footprints belonging to two dinosaurs that roamed the Sichuan Province during the Cretaceous period.
The Cretaceous is defined as the period between 145.5 and 65.5 million years ago,* the last period of the Mesozoic Era, following the Jurassic and ending with the extinction of the dinosaurs (except birds). The dinosaurs were identified as sauropods as this excerpt explains: "Lida Xing, a paleontologist and associate professor at the China University of Geosciences, told CNN the footprints belonged to sauropods, who are known for their long necks and tails. Sauropods were the largest animals on Earth."
Although sauropod footprints are not uncommon in the Sichuan Basin, it is highly unlikely to find them in a downtown area as Xing elaborates to the Washington Post: "Sauropod tracks are not rare in Sichuan Basin … but they are very rare[ly] found in restaurants in downtown. Most of the time, the ground of the city is either vegetation or cement."
Per reports, the area where the dinosaur footprints were found used to be a chicken farm prior to being converted into a restaurant and the layers of dirt helped protect them from erosion. The owner has built a fence around the footprints and is planning to build a shed over them in order to prevent people from stepping on them.
In a similar incident that occurred last year, archaeologist Marie Woods discovered a dinosaur footprint that belonged to a theropod while looking for clams in Yorkshire, England as this excerpt explains: "Last year, archaeologist Marie Woods was looking for clams on the beach in Yorkshire, England when she spotted something unusual: the 165-million-year-old footprint of a species of theropod. A dinosaur similar to a Tyrannosaurus rex, this ancient reptile also stood on two legs and was carnivorous."