In recent years, the idea that Italy was lacking dinosaurs has been denied by a striking series of finds. Several Triassic and Jurassic dinosaur tracksites were discovered in the mid-eastern Alps, in particular within the Dolomia Principale Fm. (Norian) and the Calcari Grigi Fm. (Hettangian to Pliensbachian), while thousands of Cretaceous (Santonian) prints came to light in Puglia (southern Italy). Three skeletal remains are known so far; they all belong to new, possibly endemic species that evolved during Sinemurian (Saltrio theropod), Albian (Scipionyx) and Santionian (Trieste hadrosaurs) times. Both footprints and bony remains come from coastal deposits and indicate a peculiar palaeobiogeographic condition. The model of Bahamas-like small islands is no longer consistent with the presence of large dinosaurs, which could only survive in definitely terrestrial ecosystems. As documented by the wide temporal range of the dinosaur-bearing Italian outcrops, the Mesozoic carbonate platforms of the Middle-Eastern Tethys might have emerged several times, and quite extensively.
dinosauri, Italia, orme, resti ossei, conservazione delle parti molli, palaeobiogeografia