According to Paleontologists, the footprint was well preserved in mud stretches back 220 million years. It sheds light on an early point in their evolution. Scientists hope that it would help them establish the actual structure of dinosaurs' feet and how they walked.
Lily discovered the remarkable footprint of a dinosaur when she was out for a stroll at a beach near Bendricks Bay in south Wales, U.K. In January, the 4-year-old girl was out with her family when something incredible caught her eyes. She said, '‘Look, Daddy.'’
"It was on a low rock, shoulder height for Lily, and she just spotted it,’’ her mother Sally Wilder told NBC News on Saturday. According to Paleontologists, the footprint was well-preserved in mud stretches back 220 million years. It might help the scientists establish how dinosaurs walked.
"She is really excited but doesn't quite grasp how amazing it is," Sally, an engineer, said. ‘’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."
Lily's grandmother encouraged them to reach out to local experts and fossil enthusiasts for further investigation.
Specimens found at Bendricks Bay in the past are thought to belong to crocodilian-type reptiles rather than dinosaurs. The spot is well-known for dinosaur footprints. National Museum Wales paleontology curator Cindy Howells described it as "the best specimen ever found on this beach".
‘’Although it is impossible to identify exactly which type of dinosaur left the 10-centimeter (3.9-inch) footprint, some facts are discernable.’’
Howells told NBC News. ‘’It's likely the footprint was made by a dinosaur that stood about 75 centimeters (29.5 inches) tall and 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) long,’’ she said.
It is believed to have been a slender animal with a tail that used its two hind feet to walk and actively hunted other small animals and insects.
The specimen footprint, grallator, might help the scientists gain a better understanding of how these early dinosaurs walked. The preservation is clear enough to show individual pads and even claw impressions.
"It's brilliant," Howells told NBC News.
"It really is stunning preservation ... You can see every detail of the muscles and where the joints are in the foot."
Though no fossilized bones were left behind in the area that might help indicate exactly the dinosaur-type. Interestingly, similar footprints in the USA are known to have been made by the dinosaur Coelophysis.
"We've not even found a fraction of the total species of dinosaurs yet," said Howells, adding that the print Lily found provides a very useful "clue."
The footprint has been safely removed from the beach and taken to the National Museum Cardiff to be protected and studied by scientists. The name of the official finder will be placed beside the specimen.
Article Source: NBC News