Under the water’s edge on the Isle of Wight beach, a stone’s throw from the beach café and car park, prehistoric remains have been hidden for millions of years.
But during the excavation, where the idea was to review how best to protect the island from future sea level rise, an exciting discovery was made: dinosaur footprints.
Researchers now believe the discovery reinforces the Isle of Wight’s status as Britain’s ‘dinosaur capital’.
– The Isle of Wight is the richest place in Europe for dinosaur finds, but this is still unbelievable, says Martin Mount, curator of the Dinosaur Island Museum in Sandown, according to a press release.
It is believed to be a dinosaur that lived 130 million years ago
Experts believe the footprints come from Mantellisaurus, a type of dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period about 130 million years ago in what is now Europe.
Mantellisaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that could reach seven meters in length and weigh 750 kilograms. A full-grown Mantellisaurus is believed to be approximately twice the length of a car. Researchers believe it walked on its hind legs, similar to an ostrich, but perhaps not as quickly.
What’s particularly remarkable about Mantellisaurus is that it had three toes on each foot.
– We can’t be completely sure of the identity of the prints, but the three-toed feet make it likely that Mantellisaurus existed here, and not just on other parts of the south coast where it was more common – or so we’ve thought so far, says Martin Mouth.
He says traces of 35 species of dinosaurs have been found on the Isle of Wight. A little over a hundred years ago, a complete skeleton of a Mantlesaurus was found on the island.
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