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World’s Biggest Dinosaur Footprints Unearthed in Australia’s Jurassic Park

Mar 28, 2017 06:15 AM EDT
Complete Stegosaurus Fossil Unveiled At Natural History Museum
The newly-discovered site makes its mark as the most diverse discovery of dinosaur tracks in the world, including the largest dinosaur footprint ever found.
(Photo : Carl Court/Getty Images)

Scientists have uncovered a valuable site from when dinosaurs used to walk the Earth. In a new study published in the journal Memoir of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, palaeontologists from the University of Queensland and James Cook University discovered 21 different types of dinosaur tracks along a strip of Australia's coastline in the Dampier Peninsula.

This site makes its mark as the most diverse discovery of dinosaur tracks in the world, including the largest dinosaur footprint ever found, according to a report from Phys Org. Found amidst rocks dated up to 140 million years old, the "unparalleled" collection of tracks has led the team to call it Australia's very own Jurassic Park.

"It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half of the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia's dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period," lead author Steve Salisbury said. "It's such a magical place-Australia's own Jurassic Park, in a spectacular wilderness setting."

One of the breakthroughs of the site is the first confirmed evidence of the presence of stegosaurs in Australia. Thousands of other tracks were found in the area with 150 classified into 21 track types of four different groups of dinosaurs including predatory dinosaur tracks, long-necked herbivorous sauropods, two-legged herbivorous ornithopods and armoured dinosaurs.

A gigantic footprint - likely a type of sauropod dinosaur - stood out for its size, measuring at 5-feet-9-inches (1.75 meters), according to a report from Gizmodo. But even with this standout of a footprint, the main takeaway for this outstanding discovery in Australia is the variety of dinosaurs packed in the stretch of coast.

"Twenty-one different types of dinosaurs all living together at the same time in the same area," Salisbury told Gizmodo. "We have never seen this level of diversity before, anywhere in the world. It's the Cretaceous equivalent of the Serengeti! And it's written in stone."

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