In what is the biggest dinosaur find in Scotland – hundreds of footprints have been discovered on the Isle of Skye by the University of Edinburgh scientists. The footprints which are up to 70cm wide are thought to belong to plant-eating sauropods who lived on Skye 170 million years ago and are the first sauropod tracks found in Scotland.
Dr Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh commented, “The new tracksite from Skye is one of the most remarkable dinosaur discoveries ever made in Scotland. There are so many tracks crossing each other that it looks like a dinosaur disco preserved in stone”.
The University of Edinburgh research team identified the tracks in layers of rock, which would have been at the bottom of a shallow, salt water lagoon when the prints were made.
By analysing the structure of the footprints, the team found that the dinosaurs were early, distant relatives of more well-known species, such Diplodocus. The Skye dinosaurs likely grew to at least 15 metres in length and weighed more than 10 tonnes.
Together with similar tracks found in other parts of the world, the Skye trackways reveal that sauropods spent lots of time in coastal areas and shallow water. It was previously thought that large dinosaurs were purely land-dwellers.
Image: Dr Tom Challands and Dr Steve Brusatte pose by sauropod tracks on Skye, credit Mark Wilkinson