3-toed dinosaur footprints discovered on UK beach

In a recent endeavor to prevent flooding on a beach in the United Kingdom, engineers stumbled upon a “dramatic discovery” of dinosaur footprints, as government officials announced on Monday.

The workers from the Environment Agency were bolstering sea defenses on the Yaverland seafront on the Isle of Wight when they made this prehistoric find, with the fossils dating back about 125 million years.

Experts suggest that the fossilized footprints could belong to a mantellisaurus, a dinosaur that moved on its hind legs and had just three toes on each foot.

Engineers unearth ancient dinosaur footprints on Isle of Wight amid flood checks

Engineers unearth ancient dinosaur footprints on Isle of Wight amid flood checks
A mantellisaurus skeleton

This species was more common on the island’s south coast, and a full-grown mantellisaurus would measure approximately double the length of a car.

It’s worth recalling that in 1917, on the Isle of Wight, a mantellisaurus skeleton was found that is one of the most complete dinosaur fossils in the United Kingdom.

The Isle of Wight has been the site of numerous paleontological finds, which led to a team from the Dinosaur Isle Museum being present even before this recent discovery.

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According to Dr. Martin Munt, the museum’s curator, the Isle of Wight is “the richest dinosaur location in Europe.” Munt pointed out that what we now call the Isle of Wight was a perfect habitat for dinosaurs, with a diversity of bones and fossils accumulated over millennia, offering an “impressive roll-call for scientists to explore.”

Nick Gray, the flood and coastal-risk manager for the region at the Environment Agency, emphasized the importance of coastal conservation and linked the prehistoric past with the current challenges of combating climate change.

He expressed that finds like this provide a unique perspective on what life was like in those ancient times, while tackling the modern challenges of protecting the island’s people and properties from flooding and coastal erosion.

In June 2023, on the same island, fossils of a previously unknown dinosaur species were discovered, described as having had “blade-like spiked armor,” marking the first species from the wider Ankylosaur family to be discovered on the island in 142 years.

Moreover, in 2022, a dedicated fossil hunter named Nick Chase found bones of a giant crocodile-faced dinosaur on the island’s beaches, described as the creature being “bigger than the biggest known specimen” previously found in Europe.

The Isle of Wight, situated off the south coast of England, continues to unveil secrets of the prehistoric past while facing modern challenges of environmental management and coastal conservation.

With information from CBS News

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