A team of researchers just discovered the world’s largest dinosaur footprint in an area they’re calling “Australia’s Jurassic Park.” The massive sauropod footprint was discovered near James Price Point in Western Australia, and it measures almost five feet nine inches long. A team of University of Queensland and James Cook University researchers ultimately recorded 21 different kinds of dinosaur tracks in rocks ranging from 127 to 140 million years old – including the only confirmed evidence that the stegosaurus once roamed the continent.
The Goolarabooloo people are the traditional custodians of Walmadany near James Price Point – and they invited researchers to investigate tracks in the area. Steven Salisbury of the University of Queensland described the area as Australia’s own Jurassic Park, and he and his team spent more than 400 hours recording the footprints.
Salisbury said there are thousands of tracks in the area, and that “150 can confidently be assigned to 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs.” The team found five kinds of predatory dinosaur tracks, six long-necked herbivorous sauropod tracks, four two-legged herbivorous ornithopod tracks, and six tracks from armored dinosaurs.
Salisbury said, “If we went back in time 130 million years ago, we would’ve seen all these different dinosaurs walking over this coastline. It must’ve been quite a sight.”
The team published their findings online in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Salisbury said in a statement, “Most of Australia’s dinosaur fossils come from the eastern side of the continent, and are between 115 and 90 million years old. The tracks in Broome are considerably older.”