Dinosaur experts are getting excited over some major footprint discoveries located on Australia’s Western beaches in recent years. Details of the findings are published in The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
At least 450 km of these beaches conceal sandstone rock that often reveals itself during low tide points. There are said to be large dinosaur footprint impressions in the surfaces of these rocks that came from a number of different species; both carnivores and herbivores.
Image Credit: Damian Kelly/University of Queensland/AFP
There are as many as 21 different kinds of footprint impressions out of 150 in total that range in size and shape. Some are as large as 1.7 meters, which puts into perspective just how large these beasts actually were back in the day. According to scientists, there is evidence that the footprints were formed in the early Cretaceous era.
“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,” said Dr. Salisbury.
Perhaps even more important is the sheer number of different dinosaur tracks that were discovered in the region, which is said to be the first record of these kinds of creatures walking the Western parts of Australia.
“It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia’s dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period,” Dr Salisbury continued. “It’s such a magical place—Australia’s own Jurassic Park, in a spectacular wilderness setting.”
Interestingly, some of the prints can be attributed to stegosaurs, which were large four-legged dinosaurs with defensive plates on their backs and were primarily herbivores. This is reportedly the first evidence that these creatures even existed on the Australian continent.
Teams have been studying the footprints from the years of 2011 to 2016, attempting to learn more about their size, the fine-grained details, and just what made them. The researchers were reportedly called in by local custodians who wanted to make the world aware of these incredible markings before the construction of a pipeline threatened to destroy them.
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With new evidence for dinosaur presence on the Western side of the Australian continent, researchers are once again re-writing history books. Interestingly, dinosaur history books are already in peril, as no one can seem to agree about where dinosaurs originated – new reports suggest they originated in the UK, rather than in the Southern hemisphere as originally thought.