It took the better part of five years to document thousands of dinosaur tracks across nearly two dozen track types. Paleontologists from The University of Queensland and James Cook University and locals braved mother nature to reveal the tracks to the world.
Located within a 25-kilometer stretch of the Dampier Peninsula coastline (Walmadany area near Broome), paleontologists have dubbed the area “Australia’s Jurassic Park.”
Lead author of the study Dr. Steve Salisbury described the diversity in fossils. “It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half of the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia’s dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period.”
It’s also home to this mammoth footprint:
Credit: Steve Salisbury
That is now believed to be world’s largest dinosaur footprint, and was likely formed from a type of sauropod dinosaur. Sauropods weren’t all that rare millions of years ago. In fact, at least six different types of sauropod tracks were discovered here.
“Among the tracks is the only confirmed evidence for stegosaurus in Australia. There are also some of the largest dinosaur tracks ever recorded. Some of the sauropod tracks are around 1.7 m long,” Salisbury added.
The paleontologists believe the footprints discovered here are “considerably older” than the dinosaur fossils discovered on the eastern side of Australia. Those range between 115 and 90 million years old.
How this big dinosaur footprint stacks up
The huge footprint above is believed to be the biggest in the world right now. It eclipses this titanosaur (a type of sauropod) footprint discovered in the Gobi Desert last August.
Credit: Shinobu Ishigaki/Okayama University of Science
Here’s another sauropod footprint discovered in France back in 2009.
The biggest footprint from a carnivorous dinosaur was discovered last year in Bolivia. It measures nearly 4 feet wide.
Credit: Grover Marquina