Researchers Find Ancient Stegosaurus Footprints On Island

Recently, researchers discovered grapefruit-sized footprints in rocks on the Isle of Skye, which are then revealed to be made by stegosauruses, an ancient plant-eating dinosaur that is famous for the scales on its back.

Stego Footprints

Located northwest of Scotland, the Isle of Skye is famous for its medieval castles, picturesque fishing villages and rugged landscapes. And now, it’s famous for dinosaur footprints as well since analysis of the grapefruit-sized prints revealed to be by the scaly stegosaur, which is a type of plant-eating dinosaur.

Per the research team, the newly discovered tracks form a single line that’s about a few meters long, made with a right-left pattern and two different-sized prints, which is expected from an animal that walks on all fours. As such, one set is larger than the other, with the smaller set further forward, made by the dinosaur’s smaller front legs.

“Those proportions match up quite well to the hands and feet of stegosaurus skeletons. These footprints are the first evidence we have that this very major, very iconic group of dinosaurs lived in Scotland,” Dr. Stephen Brusatte, a palaeontologist and co-author of the study from the University of Edinburgh, said.

According to Brusatte, the prints were likely made by a stegosaur that’s small and just the size of the cow. Furthermore, the team behind the analysis also said that the tracks were found in sedimentary rocks thought to be about 170 million years old, which formed from mudflats that once bordered an ancient lagoon.

Also, while stegosaurs are a major group of dinosaurs, it’s surprising how little of their bones or tracks can be found on the Earth today.

“It looks like [this group of dinosaurs] was starting to evolve, to spread around, during this middle part of the Jurassic, and we are seeing these fleeting glimpses of them as they are starting off their evolution,” he said.

In addition to the stegosaur tracks, the team also found other prints on the site.

“There are some three-toed prints with claw marks that were made by theropods, but there were no sauropod tracks at these sites,” Brusatte added.

dinosaur “Unfortunately, the Jurassic Park scenario must remain in the realms of fiction,” the researchers concluded. shvmoz, CC BY-SA 2.0

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