Daily Express

Jurassic larks on Skye as stegosaur print uncovered

- By Lucinda Cameron

SCIENTISTS say stegosaurs once roamed Skye – confirming the island as a dinosaur hotspot.

Their tracks were revealed after the spring storms of 2017 moved boulders along the beach.

Palaeontol­ogists found 50 distinctiv­e oval footprints left by a Jurassic- era stegosaur, known for its spiky spine.

They roamed there around 170 million year ago when the Brothers’ Point site was a mudflat on the edge of a shallow lagoon.

The discovery is one of the oldest- known fossil records of the stegosaur anywhere in the world.

Dr Steve Brusatte, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Our findings give us a much clearer picture of the dinosaurs that lived in Scotland 170 million years ago. We knew there were giant long- necked sauropods and Jeep- sized carnivores. But we can now add plate- backed stegosaurs and maybe even primitive cousins of the duck- billed dinosaurs, too.

“These discoverie­s are making Skye one of the best places in the world for understand­ing dinosaur evolution in the middle Jurassic.” Stegosaurs could grow to almost 30ft long and weigh more than six tons. Skye is one of the few places in the world where fossils from the middle Jurassic period can be found. Discoverie­s on the island have provided vital clues about the early evolution of major dinosaur groups. They include huge long- necked sauropods and fierce meat- eating cousins of Tyrannosau­rus rex. The study, also involving the University of Glasgow and Skye’s Staffin Museum, is in the journal PLOS ONE.

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