A new study published on December 1 in the Scottish Journal of Geology, revealed that long-neck dinosaurs were living in Scotland, on the Isle of Skye 170 million years ago.
Hundreds of dinosaur handsprints and footprints have been accidentally discovered on the shore of the Isle of Skye. The palaeontologists were at the site after they discovered the skeleton of a small crocodile and some shark teeth fossils. Along the rocky coast – an area that during the Jurassic was a lagoon, they have noticed several dinosaur footprints, covered with sand and seaweed.
The discovery was pure luck, since it has been made right before the traces were covered by the tide so if the scientists were a bit late, none of them would have been visible. Luckily, they had time to take some pictures and decided to return once the tide was gone.
The largest footprint measures 2.3 feet (about 70 centimeters), which makes them some of the biggest ever discovered. This means that the only known species of dinosaurs that could have left them was the sauropod.
The saraupod was about 49 feet long and weighted about 11 tons. Its handsprints reveal that it also had huge claws on their first fingers. They were probably using them for making nests and digging in the ground.
The only other traces of saraupods in Scotland until now were an arm bone, a tailbone and some teeth. Unlike track marks, these are elements that can be moved and destroyed by humans or by natural causes so the footprints are an unquestionable proof of saraupods’ existence on that territory.
Brusette, one of the authors of the study, declared that they have found in the rocks more than three layers of footprints, which means that more generations of sauropods have been walking through the lagoon. This place could have been their home.
Following the finding, researchers started looking closer at the Isle of Skye. They are now trying to get funding for an aerial survey with a revolutionary technique, called Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) that would help them map the tracks. Based on the mapping, they will be able to tell how fast the long-neck dinosaurs were moving. Until now, based on the fact that their footprints are close to each other, scientists believe they were moving rather slow.
However, the paleontologists are positive about the future, arguing that many exciting discoveries are about to come for sure.
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