The biggest dinosaur footprint ever has been discovered in Scotland. It’s not quite about Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, but probably more exciting… at least for scientists.
Rare footprints of what was the biggest animal that has ever lived on the planet’s surface have just been discovered in the mud of a lagoon in Scotland, on the Isle of Skye, located on the northwest coast of Great Britain.
All in all, a dozen fossils more than 170 million years old have been exhumed in the region. These fossils belonged to sauropods, a family of giant herbivorous dinosaurs that encompasses species such as brachiosaurs and diplodocus. Fossils belonging to other dinosaur species have also been discovered in the same area of excavation.
The dinosaurs of the sauropod family could reach impressive heights and hold many records. The Supersaurus, with its 40-length from head to tail, is probably the longest land animal that has ever walked the ground of our planet. The Sauroposeidon is the record holder for height, an unbelievable 18 meters in height!
These dinosaurs were also, consequence of their gigantism, incredibly massive: the Argentinosaurus is probably the heaviest with its 80 to 100-ton weight, but some researchers think that there exists a species which could weigh up to 220 tons! In comparison, the African elephant, our largest land animal today, is a featherweight, with its modest 10 tons.
Not content to belong to such massive creatures, these fossils would also be the oldest ever found in Scotland! Another group of fossils was discovered exactly in the same region, on the Isle of Skye, in 2015. But, in all likelihood, these footprints were slightly newer.
For archaeologists, this is an important discovery: in fact, fossils dating from the middle of the Jurassic period are rare, and archaeological sites of importance are few to have been discovered in the world. “It’s a major site with a lot of dinosaur footprints, it’s very hard to find,” says Steve Brusatte, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh. “The more we search on the Isle of Skye, the more we discover fossils of dinosaurs!”
The enormous footprints of these titanic herbivorous dinosaurs, almost the size of a truck tire, were also mixed with those of other carnivorous dinosaur species, showing that the different animals lived side by side in this region at a time when Scotland was much warmer and covered with dense lush jungle.