Researchers Discover Wide Variety of Dinosaur Footmarks in Australia


Paleontologists discovered an array of dinosaur footmarks all over Western Australia

Researchers from the University of Queensland and James Cook University uncovered one of the most remarkable findings in paleontology which have occurred this year. They can brag with one of the most varied collections of dinosaur footmarks ever found.

The biggest dinosaur track ever found

The researchers performed a five-year study expedition in Australia’s “Jurassic Park”, a place in the Kimberly region in Western Australia. They discovered a wide variety of footmarks which they could date back to almost 140 million years. One of the most exciting footprints is the largest sauropod track ever encountered.

The footmark measures around 5 feet 9 inches. This is almost double the size of another sauropod print found last year in the Gobi Desert. Also, the print won the title of the biggest dinosaur track ever found, by overpassing the previous record holder, the footprint of a carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Bolivia last July.

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21 different dinosaur footmarks

The giant sauropod print is one of the many discoveries of the Australian scientists. All the investigations around the Dampier Peninsula unearthed 21 different dinosaur tracks, preserved in rocks dating back from 125 and 140 million years.

Paleontologists declared that this area was perfect for hosting and preserving the tracks, making it the “Cretaceous equivalent of the Serengeti”. Actually, the area appears to have hosted the most diverse dinosaur fauna ever recorded by paleontologists.

This study is of high importance, as it records the first evidence of non-avian dinosaurs in Western Australia. All the other fossils discovered on the continent had been collected from the eastern side, and they only constituted a small part of the dinosaur fauna on the continent.

From all the thousands of tracks discovered in the area, 150 of them have been assigned to 21 different species. These species belonged to four big groups of dinosaurs. Moreover, they were able to document for the first time the presence of the stegosaurus in Australia.

“There were five different types of predatory dinosaur tracks, at least six types of tracks from long-necked herbivorous sauropods, four types of tracks from two-legged herbivorous ornithopods, and six types of tracks from armored dinosaurs.”

The study was published in the journal Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and it can be found here.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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