Footprints belonging to sauropods, the largest animal known to have walked on planet Earth, have been discovered in Scotland. In a muddy lagoon on the Isle of Skye, dozens of the 170 million year old fossils have been found.
The sauropods were approximately 49 feet long and weighed more than 10 tons. Footprints from theropods, older cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex, also were found in the lagoon.
These Middle Jurassic period footprints are thought to be the oldest dinosaur fossils ever found in Scotland. There were some footprints discovered on Skye in 2015; however, they were younger and smaller than this recent find.
The fossils at this site have provided added insight into the social environment of long necked and meat eating dinosaurs. Their tracks in the lagoon show they lived side by side, wading through the muddy waters, looking for food.
The footprints posed challenges for study, because of tidal conditions in the area of Brother’s Point, a headland on Skye’s Trotternish Peninsula. Researchers were able to use drone photographs to help measure and analyze the tracks. Due to the tidal conditions, impact of weathering, and subsequent altering landscape, the 50 footprints were difficult to study, but aided by drones’ photography, not impossible. Work will continue there, as researchers have stated the more they look on the Isle of Skye, the more dinosaur footprints they believe will be found.