In 2017, a team of paleontologists unveiled 21 different types of dinosaur tracks found along a 13-mile (21-kilometer) stretch of the Dampier Peninsula -- an area now being called Australia’s Jurassic Park. Among these dinosaur tracks, they found the largest footprint to date, a 5-foot, 9-inch (1.8-meter) impression found in an ancient rock formation along the western Australia coast. The footprint belonged to a sauropod, a massive plant-eating beast with a profile familiar to dinosaur aficionados. The most well-known sauropod is perhaps the Brontosaurus, a sturdy-bodied paleo-specimen with a long tail, long neck, and a small head, capable of munching the tops of trees.
Land of the dinosaurs, mate:
- “If we went back in time 130 million years ago," said Steve Salisbury, lead author of the study and a professor at the University of Queensland, “we would've seen all these different dinosaurs walking over this coastline. It must've been quite a sight.”
- Salisbury and his team worked in the area for five years. Among their finds was evidence that the distinctive Stegosaurus, known for the armored plates lining its spine, also lived in Australia.
- The previous largest footprint was nearly 3 feet 9 inches in length (1.15 meters). Paleontologists working in Bolivia found the track of the large carnivore in 2016.