4-Year-Old Girl Finds Dinosaur Footprint On Beach In Wales
A four-year-old girl, walking while vacationing with her family in Wales, found a very well preserved, and probably a new trace of dinosaur tracks. The footprints found are from an extinct species of crocodilians, extinct ancestors of modern crocodiles.
The dinosaur that made the print probably stood 30 inches (75 centimeters) tall and 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long. Its 4-inch (10 cm) track looks similar to that of the dinosaur Coelophysis, though that particular species lived in North America, not what is now Europe.
Lily Wilder, a preschooler on a stroll with her father at Bendricks Bay, discovered the track.
“It was Lily and Richard (her father) who discovered the footprint,” Lily’s mother Sally Wilder said in a statement. “Lily saw it as they were walking along, and said ‘Daddy look.’
When Richard came home and showed me the photograph, I thought it looked amazing. Richard thought it was too good to be true. I was put in touch with experts who took it from there.”
The print was on a loose rock and has now been removed to National Museum Wales (Amgueddfa Cymru in Welsh) with permission from Natural Resources Wales, the government-sponsored body that regulates conservation and environmental issues.
“This fossilized dinosaur footprint from 220 million years ago is one of the best-preserved examples from anywhere in the U.K. and will really aid paleontologists to get a better idea about how these early dinosaurs walked,” Cindy Howells, the paleontology curator at the museum, said in the statement.
The fossil is so detailed that the claws and pads of the feet are visible. The print is a type known as a grallator, meaning a bipedal theropod dinosaur with three toes created it.
The dinosaur lived at the beginning of the Triassic period when the region was a desert dotted with occasional saline lakes.
Dinosaurs had evolved only about 10 million years before this mysterious three-toed creature walked this landscape, so its print is a tantalizing clue into early dinosaur history, according to National Museum Wales.
“During the COVID pandemic, scientists from Amgueddfa Cymru have been highlighting the importance of nature on people’s doorstep, and this is a perfect example of this,” Howells said. “Obviously, we don’t all have dinosaur footprints on our doorstep, but there is a wealth of nature local to you if you take the time to really look close enough.”
Why is the area important?
The Bendricks is a stretch of coastline between Barry and Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan. It is an important paleontologist site and a site of special scientific interest. The south Wales group of the Geologists’ Association called it “the best site in Britain for dinosaur tracks of the Triassic Period”.
It said: “The footprints can be difficult to see. Many are covered at high tide so it is best to go after high tide when the tracks may retain small puddles of water.
“It is also easier to spot the footprints when the sun is low in the sky as longer shadows will help throw the footprints into relief.