Scientists may have found the world’s largest dinosaur footprint — measuring at nearly 1.7 metres (5.6 ft) — on a remote part of Australia‘s northwestern coastline.
The footprint from a giant sauropod dinosaur was among 21 types of tracks found on Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia, over 1,000 kilometres from Darwin.
“We’ve discovered and observed literally thousands of dinosaur tracks and have been able to determine that this area preserves one of the most divers dinosaur track faunas anywhere in the world,” Steve Salisbury said, palaeontologist.
The rocks in which the footprints were found date back between 127 and 144 million years, older than previous dinosaur fossil discoveries in Australia, local media reported.
Sauropods were four-legged plant-eaters with long necks and tails, pillar-like legs and immense bodies. The scientists also found tracks from six types of meat eaters and the first evidence of armoured stegosaurs.
The study was initiated by the local indigenous Goolarabooloo people who have known about the tracks for generations. They feared the footprints on James Price Point would be lost after it was chosen as a potential site for a liquid natural gas project, according to paleontologist Steve Salisbury.
The next challenge for the scientists is to unravel what the types of dinosaurs were doing there and how they were interacting, he added.