Rare Dinosaur Footprint in Scotland Gives Clues to a Lost Era of the Middle Jurassic Period
Rare dinosaur footprint (Photo credits: Paige dePolo)

We have seen dinosaurs only in movies and cartoons and there is some curiosity factor about these late species that existed million and million years ago. Now scientists have found 50 giant footprints dating back to 170 million years ago on a Scotish Island. They are said to be the world's oldest found fossils and also belonging to the largest species of dinosaurs back then. These new prints are important considering evolution evidence about a different era say, scientists.

The researchers at the University of Edinburgh discovered these tracks in muddy, shallow lagoons on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. These prints belong to the long-necked sauropods — which stood up to two metres tall — and by similarly sized theropods, which were said to be the older cousins of Tyrannosaurus rex.

This finding serves importance as it provides a rare evidence of the Middle Jurassic period. They were difficult to study given the weather conditions in the area. The tidal conditions, changes in the landscape were also important factors to consider. But the scientists managed to find trackways to many other isolated foot-prints.

"This tracksite is the second discovery of sauropod footprints on Skye. It was found in rocks that were slightly older than those previously found at Duntulm on the island and demonstrates the presence of sauropods in this part of the world through a longer timescale than previously known," informed Paige dePolo from the University of Edinburgh.

Researchers used drone photographs to map the site where the findings were spotted. The prints were then analyzed according to the overall shape of the track outline, the shape and orientation of the toes, and the presence of claws to conclude them to sauropods and theropods. This study was carried out by the University of Edinburgh, Staffin Museum and Chinese Academy of Sciences, was published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.