Footprints of plant-eating dinosuars discovered on Isle of Skye in Scotland
Researchers have discovered hundreds of huge footprints of sauropods dinosaurs on the Isle of Sky, the largest known dinosaur site in Scotland.
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The long-necked, plant eating sauropods lived around 170 million years ago and this new collection of tracks offer new insight into the lives of biggest dinosaurs of all time.
The giant footprints were found inside the layers of rock, which would have been the bottom of a shallow, saltwater lagoon when dinosaurs roamed in the region millions of years ago. The discovery of prints in Isle of Sky reflects that sauropods spent lot of their time in coastal areas and liked to dip their feet in shallow water. Previously, it was thought that large dinosaurs were only land-dwellers.
“The reason why this site is so important is that these footprints were made in a lagoon,” said lead author Dr Steve Brusatte, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences.
“Sauropods were making their footprints while they were wading in the water. We have three different layers so that is three different time intervals. This is telling us these huge dinosaurs lived or at least moved through these lagoons fairly regularly over time. This was the normal part of their repertoire.”
The Skye dinosaurs can grew up to 15 metres (49 feet) in length and weighed more than 10 tons. The largest of the footprint was measured 27.5 inches. This is the first instance when tracks of a giant sauropod have been found in Scotland. Until now, only just a few bone and teeth fragments were discovered in the site.
Isle of Skye is one of the very rare places in the world where fossils from Middle Jurassic Period have been recovered and according to Brusatte, it “is one of the most poorly understood time intervals in dinosaur evolution” because of the limited evidences.
“Any dinosaur remains such as the Middle Jurassic remains are extremely rare worldwide and are important additions to our knowledge of this poorly represented time period,” said Neil Clark curator of palaeontology at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.
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“Scotland is fast becoming one of the most important sources of Middle Jurassic dinosaurs with new discoveries being made almost every year.”