Rare dinosaur prints found on Isle of Skye

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     FRENZY Dinosaur enthusiasts are scrambling to examine the ultra-rare fossils

"We knew that you could find these things in Scotland and if you were walking on tidal platforms and you saw holes in the rock, they could, possibly, be footprints".

"These tracks were sort of hiding in plain sight for years", University of Southern California paleontologist Michael Habib, who wasn't involved with the discovery, tells National Geographic.

The 170 million-year-old tracks were found on the Isle of Skye, in a muddy lagoon off the north-east coast of the island where the dinos are theorised to have splashed about in the shallows.

Suspiciously close to the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comes the new announcement that researchers have discovered fresh sets of dinosaur footprints on the north eastern part of Scotland's Isle of Skye. However, the team believed that they belonged to sauropods, who were long-necked herbivores like the Brontosaurus, and theropods, who were the early ancestors of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

A theropod footprint discovered at Brothers' Point on the Isle of Skye in Scotland is seen in this undated photograph supplied by Edinburgh University on April 2, 2018.

The discovery of dozens of dino footprints that are about 170 million years old holds worldwide significance because fossils from the Middle Jurassic era are few and far between, according to the University of Edinburgh, one of three academic institutions which helped produce the study.

The fossils are thought to be the oldest ever found in Scotland. In 2017, dePolo and Steve Brusatte, also of the University of Edinburgh, returned to the site to map them.

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To some, the word "fieldwork" may invoke an image of Indiana Jones standing in a desert. Researchers made a decision to create a map of the whole geological site in 3D so that proper analysis could be conducted. High tides also regularly flooded the coastal trackways.

"There was a kind of a left-right, left-right patterning", he said.

"It shows both long-necked and meat-eaters were on the same site at the same time living together, side-by-side".

Some of the footprints, said Brusatte, were as big as a auto tyre.

In a way, the discovery brings scientists' understanding of sauropods full circle.

If they somehow don't clone dinosaurs from this then what the hell are they doing? Sauropod bones and footprints have been found on all seven continents-including Antarctica.

"They weren't chasing each other, they weren't hunting each other", said Brusatte. They didn't swim but waded into the plant rich environments for food. However, there haven't been many fossils that have been discovered by scientists up until that date.

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