Traces of the large herbivore dinosaurs were found after a team of paleontologists from the University of Edinburgh uncovered 50 footprints from the stegosaurus on the island
Scientists have discovered one of the world’s oldest fossil records on the Isle of Skye – revealing the stegosaurus roamed the island 170 million years ago.
Traces of the large herbivore dinosaurs were found after a team of paleontologists from the University of Edinburgh uncovered 50 footprints on the island.
It is believed the creatures, which could grow to almost 30 feet long and weigh more than six tonnes, called the scenic island home during the Jurassic period.
Palaeontologists discovered a short sequence of distinctive, oval footprints and handprints belonging to a stegosaurus.
They were left by a young animal or a small-bodied member of the stegosaurus family as it ambled across the island.
The site on the island’s north-east coast was at the time a mudflat on the edge of a shallow lagoon on a long-lost island in the Atlantic and contains a mixture of footprints.
It reveals dinosaurs on Skye – ‘one of the best places in the world’ for examining dinosaur evolution – were more diverse than previously thought.
The discovery means that the site at Brothers’ Point – called Rubha nam Brathairean in Gaelic – is now recognised as one of the oldest-known fossil records of this dinosaur group found anywhere in the world.
Skye is one of the few places in the world where fossils from the Middle Jurassic period can be found.
Discoveries on the island have provided scientists with vital clues about the early evolution of major dinosaur groups, including huge, long-necked sauropods and fierce, meat-eating cousins of Tyrannosaurus rex.
The study also involved scientists from National Museums Scotland, University of Glasgow, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and the Staffin Museum.
Paige dePolo, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, said: “These new track sites help us get a better sense of the variety of dinosaurs that lived near the coast of Skye during the Middle Jurassic than what we can glean from the island’s body fossil record.