Massive dinosaur footprint - over three feet long - found in UK's Yorkshire
Scientists who studied the footprint Woods found have concluded it was probably made by a giant carnivore, like a Megalosaurus.
A major paleontological find in the county of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom has sparked excitement among scientists worldwide - a nearly metre-long (3.3 feet) footprint of a large (probably carnivorous) dinosaur that emerged in Burniston Bay near the town of Scarborough, on what is referred to as the UK's 'dinosaur coast'. The footprint is believed to be the largest of its kind in the region and will go on display at the town's Rotunda Museum.
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According to American broadcaster CNN, the footprint was found by local researcher Marie Woods in April 2021. "I couldn’t believe what I was looking at... I had to do a double take. I have seen a few smaller prints when out with friends, but nothing like this. I can no longer say that archaeologists don’t do dinosaurs," Woods told a local news channel.
She got in touch with the regional experts in fossils but none were familiar with the trail she was describing. Then she reached out to Dr Dean Lomax, a palaeontologist and honorary visiting scientist at the University of Manchester. "Marie contacted me whilst she was down on the beach, with the fossil in front of her," Lomax, who co-authored a study with Woods that was published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society.
Lomax is also the author of 'Dinosaurs of the British Isles'.
Scientists who studied the footprint Woods found have concluded it was probably made by a giant carnivore, like a Megalosaurus. Lomax said the shape of the print and the way in which the claws penetrated the ground indicates it was sitting or squatting before it stood up.
"The most intriguing feature of our footprint is a long portion preserved at the back of the foot, which is an impression of what we call the metapodium. The presence might suggest our large meat-eater was squatting down in the mud, before standing up and walking away."
According to local geologist John Hudson the discovery is further evidence that carnivorous dinosaurs roamed this part of the world during the Jurassic period.
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The Megalosaurus - if the print belongs to it - was one of the largest predators of its time. It had a large skull armed with sharp, serrated teethand its body reached between eight and nine metres (between 26 and 29 feet) in length, the report by CNN added.