What’s the coolest thing you have found on the beach? A shell, maybe a washed-up animal? This four-year-old girl probably had you beat when she spotted a 220 million-year-old dinosaur footprint in the mud.
In the UK, four-year-old Lily Wilder was walking along Bendricks Bay with her family when she noticed something out of the ordinary in the mud. The odd shape was actually a footprint of a dinosaur.
Scientists predict that the prehistoric animal roamed around nearly 220 million years ago. According to BBC, taking into account that 10 cm long print, the animal was likely around 75 cm tall. In addition, the prehistoric creature is described as a “slender animal” that would walk around on two feet and hunted other small animals and bugs.
While it may be impossible to identify the dinosaur that left the print, the fossil looks similar to Coelophysis, which has been found in the USA.
Scientists believe this track will further help answer the question of how dinosaurs walked.
In the past, the only samples found at the Bay have exhibited more crocodilian attributes than a dinosaur.
Cindy Howells, the paleontology curator at the National Museum of Wales, said this print is “the best specimen ever found on this beach”.
The museum released a statement saying that due to the detail in the print, they will be able to tell more about the dinosaur’s “actual structure of their feet.”
The Natural Resources Wales has made a special request to legally remove the footprint. They hope to preserve it at the National Museum Cardiff.
Young Girl’s Mom Recalls Events
Sally Wilder, Lily’s mother, recalls the events, saying the fossil was “too good to be true.”
“It was Lily and Richard (her father) who discovered the footprint. Lily saw it when 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 south Wales group of the Geologists’ Association commented on the find. They also revealed the best ways to locate more fossils in the area.
“The best site in Britain for dinosaur tracks of the Triassic Period. 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.”
The area of coastline is known for the numerous fossils located along the water’s edge for any aspiring paleontologist to hunt.