Life finds a way … especially when you’re a scientist trudging through the muddy lagoons of Scotland’s popular tourist destination the Isle of Skye.
Sky News reports that 170-million-year-old dinosaur tracks were recently discovered at Brother’s Point on the northeastern side of the Scottish island. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Staffin Museum and Chinese Academy of Sciences published an article in the Scottish Journal of Geology on April 2 about the astounding find, which sheds light on dinosaur evolution.
Around 50 footprints, which are regarded as internationally important since they are such rare evidence of the Middle Jurassic period, were uncovered by the team through the use of drones, 3D pictures and custom software. This technology allowed scientists to see the outline of toes and claws, and tentatively assign the footprints to long-necked sauropods and theropods, dinosaurs related to the Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex.
Two trackways were discovered, as well as many isolated footprints. The largest print, belonging to the sauropod, was about 27.5 inches, and the largest theropod track was about 19.6 inches.
Paige dePolo, of the University of Edinburgh, who led the study, said “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.”
“This site is a useful building block for us to continue fleshing out a picture of what dinosaurs were like on Skye in the Middle Jurassic,” Ms. dePolo said, according to Science Daily.
Additionally, the University of Edinburgh’s Dr. Steve Brusatte told Science Daily: “The more we look on the Isle of Skye, the more dinosaur footprints we find. This new site records two different types of dinosaurs — long-necked cousins of Brontosaurus and sharp-toothed cousins of T. rex — hanging around a shallow lagoon, back when Scotland was much warmer and dinosaurs were beginning their march to global dominance.”
Can’t get enough of cats, dogs and other furry friends? Click here to get the cutest pet news and photos delivered directly to your inbox.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Dinosaurs … Scotland … the Loch Ness Monster? It all makes sense now!