170-Million-Year-Old Jurassic Era Giant Dinosaur Footprints Found Intact In Scotland’s Isle Of Skye

Researchers located rare fossils of the world's largest animals to ever roam the earth.

Dinosaur Footprints in Scotland
Mel Evans / AP Images

Researchers located rare fossils of the world's largest animals to ever roam the earth.

Researchers unearthed an important find in Scotland’s Isle of Skye. It was revealed that they discovered at least 50 dinosaur footprints that were estimated to be 170 million years old. This time frame indicates that the animal species were from the Middle Jurassic period.

The giant tracks were located in a muddy, shallow part of a lagoon along the coast of Isle of Skye. Upon close examination, a group of experts consisting of researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Scotland’s Staffin Museum determined that the footprints were indeed traces left by Jurassic dinosaurs.

According to Telegraph, the rare dinosaur footprints belong to the biggest animal to ever set foot on Earth. To be more specific, it was revealed that scientists found prehistoric fossils left behind by Sauropods, the gigantic long-necked dinosaur and forebear of the Brontosaurus.

Also spotted in the area were footprints of Theropods, another type of dinosaur that has sharp teeth and measures about two meters long. It is also the “older cousins” of the wild and ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The biggest footprint to be found was from a Sauropod. If measured crossways, the span of the foot is 70 cm., while the biggest footprint left by a Therapod measures around 50 cm.

Experts believe that these 170-million-year-old dinosaur tracks were the oldest to be spotted in Scotland. In 2015, scientists also found footprints but those were not as old and smaller in size compared to the new finds.

So far, the oldest dinosaur remnants to be discovered in the U.K. are the 200-million-year-old skull and bones of the Jurassic era’s Dracoraptor Hanigani, the earliest ancestor of T. Rex. It was found in Lavernock Beach in South Wales in spring of 2014.

Importance Of Dinosaur Footprints Discovery

In a press release, Paige dePolo, the lead researcher, said that the discovery of the site is very important because, from it, they can gather details that will help them picture what dinosaurs were like during the Middle Jurassic period, the pivotal time in the history of dinosaur evolution. Certainly, this study will also give a more accurate image of what the world was like 170 million years ago.

Additionally, the footprints are significant as Middle Jurassic fossils are very rare and hard to find. In fact, there are just a few sites in the world where hundred-million-year-old dinosaur relics are found.

“It captures a moment in time 170 million years ago when they were just hanging out in a lagoon, living on the beach, back when Scotland was much warmer and dinosaurs were beginning their march to global dominance,” Dr. Steve Brusatte of Edinburgh University said.

These types of fossils are scarce so with what they have right now, researchers are hoping that they will be able to find answers to some of the most boggling questions regarding the evolution of dinosaurs.

Finally, the study was published in Scottish Journal of Geology and supported by the National Geographic Society. It was also partially funded by the Association of Women Geologists, Edinburgh Geological Society, Derek and Maureen Moss, and the Edinburgh Zoo.