Sunday, 13 Jun 2021

‘Jurassic giant’ dinosaur footprint on Yorkshire beach leaves woman stunned

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Marie Woods had originally gone to a beach near Filey, North Yorkshire, to collect shellfish for dinner. The archaeologist could not believe her eyes when she came across a huge footprint believed to belong to one of the largest dinosaurs ever recorded on the Yorkshire coast.

Ms Woods tweeted: “Nice Dino print from today … I had originally gone to collect shellfish for dinner, but got completely distracted by this beast!!!”

She took detailed measurements and a series of photographs which were used to make a photographic image of the footprint. She continued: “We are looking at a safe way to collect, but the location and preservation of the print are making things a bit challenging.”

Experts believe the footprint likely belonged to the Megalosaurus, whose name literally means ‘big lizard’. The meat-eating dino had a body length of up to 30 feet and weighed around one tonne (157 stone). The dinosaur stood on two legs, had short arms and a long tail- much like a T-Rex.

The Megalosaurus lived in the mid-Jurassic period, around 170-155 million years ago.

University of Manchester palaeontologist Dr Dean Lomax told Yorkshire Post: “In short, this is the largest theropod footprint ever found in Yorkshire, made by a large meat-eating dinosaur.

“We know this because the shape and three-toed track, along with the impression of the claws, are absolutely spot-on for having been made by a large theropod that probably had a hip height of about 2.4 metres and body length approaching 8-9 metres – so a real Jurassic giant.

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“We can never be certain of exactly what species made it, but the footprint type would match the likes of a dinosaur found in Britain and called Megalosaurus, which lived at roughly the same time this footprint was created, during the Middle Jurassic.”

Experts later realised that the fossil had previously been photographed by local collector, Rob Taylor, last November. However, the significance of his discovery had not been recognised at the time. 

Dr Lomax continued: “At the time, the specimen wasn’t fully exposed and I, nor anybody else who had seen the photos, had realised just how amazing and important the find was. Only until Marie ‘rediscovered’ the footprint has the importance been recognised.

“I’m very grateful that Rob and Marie have made this discovery and hope that the specimen can be rescued for science. It will definitely make for a wonderful study and would look amazing on display for the public to enjoy. “

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