Footprints from at the least six totally different species of dinosaur – the final dinosaurs to stroll on UK soil 110 million years in the past – have been present in Kent, a brand new report has introduced.
The invention of dinosaur footprints by a curator from Hastings Museum and Artwork Gallery and a scientist from the College of Portsmouth is the final file of dinosaurs in Britain.
The footprints had been found within the cliffs and on the foreshore in Folkestone, Kent, the place stormy circumstances have an effect on the cliff and coastal waters, and are continuously revealing new fossils.
Professor of Palaeobiology, David Martill, stated: “That is the primary time dinosaur footprints have been present in strata generally known as the ‘Folkestone Formation’ and it’s fairly a unprecedented discovery as a result of these dinosaurs would have been the final to roam on this nation earlier than changing into extinct.
“They had been strolling round near the place the White Cliffs of Dover are actually – subsequent time you’re on a ferry and also you see these magnificent cliffs simply think about that!”
The footprint fossils shaped by sediment filling the impression left behind when a dinosaur’s foot pushes into the bottom, which then preserves it.
The footprints are from quite a lot of dinosaurs, which reveals there was a comparatively excessive variety of dinosaurs in southern England on the finish of the Early Cretaceous interval, 110 million years in the past.
They’re considered from ankylosaurs, rugged-looking armoured dinosaurs which had been like dwelling tanks; theropods, three-toed flesh-eating dinosaurs just like the Tyrannosaurus rex; and ornithopods, plant-eating ‘bird-hipped’ dinosaurs so-called due to their pelvic construction being a bit of bit much like birds.
Philip Hadland, Collections and Engagement Curator on the Hastings Museum and Artwork Gallery is lead creator on the paper. He stated: “Again in 2011, I got here throughout uncommon impressions within the rock formation at Folkestone. They appeared to be repeating and all I may assume was they is likely to be footprints.
“This was at odds with what most geologists say in regards to the rocks right here, however I went in search of extra footprints and because the tides revealed extra by erosion, I discovered even higher ones. Extra work was wanted to persuade the scientific neighborhood of their validity, so I teamed up with consultants on the College of Portsmouth to confirm what I’d discovered.”
Many of the findings are remoted footprints, however one discovery contains six footprints – making a ‘trackway’, which is a couple of consecutive print from the identical animal.
This trackway of prints are comparable in dimension to an elephant footprint and have been recognized as prone to be an Ornithopodichnus, of which comparable, however smaller-sized footprints have additionally been present in China from the identical time interval.
The most important footprint discovered – measuring 80 cm in width and 65 cm in size – has been recognized as belonging to an Iguanodon-like dinosaur. Iguanodons had been additionally plant-eaters, grew as much as 10 metres lengthy and walked on each two legs or on all fours.
Professor Martill stated: “To seek out such an array of species in a single place is fascinating. These dinosaurs in all probability took benefit of the tidal exposures on coastal foreshores, maybe foraging for meals or benefiting from clear migration routes.”
Within the Late Cretaceous interval, this a part of Kent, and certainly a lot of the UK was beneath a shallow sea, however this examine additionally reveals unequivocally that the Folkestone Formation was inter-tidal.
Mr Hadland stated: “Apart from discovering that dinosaurs went to the seaside identical to their trendy relations the birds, we now have additionally discovered new proof that modifications the interpretation of the geology of the Folkestone Formation strata.
“It simply goes to indicate that what has been beforehand revealed in regards to the geology of an space isn’t at all times appropriate and new insights might be made. There’s additionally the potential for nearly anybody to make a discovery that provides to scientific data from publicly accessible geological websites.”
Header Picture – A palaeoartist’s impression of the dinosaurs and their footprints. Picture Credit score : Megan Jacobs, College of Portsmouth