Beach-loving dinos? Giant preserved ancient footprints found in Australia.
Theropod footprints were discovered by a beach goer on Australia's Dampier Peninsula, the only place on the continent where dinosaur fossils or footprints have ever been found.
Bindi Lee Porth went to the beach with her family to collect shells and watch the sunset and ended up unearthing a 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprint instead.
The discovery of the initial print, found buried beneath the sand on Cable Beach, a popular tourist spot in Western Australia, lead Porth to unearth a series of tracks following the extinct dinosaur several strides down the beach.
"(I'm) amazed. To be connected to something from so many millions and millions of years ago is fantastic, we're pretty happy.” Porth told ABC, adding that while she goes to the beach nearly every day, she has never seen anything like this.
Steve Salisbury, a palaeontologist from the University of Queensland told CNN the prints came from a carnivorous theropod dinosaur, and that based on the size of the prints, which ranged from 1 to 1.6 feet long, the dinosaur was likely 8 to 13 feet tall.
Cable Beach is located on the Dampier peninsula, where the only dinosaur activity in Australia and where Salisbury leads a project to map out the dinosaur footprints of sauropods, theropods, and stegosauruses, among others.
“They are unique to the Dampier Peninsula,” Salisbury, told the Guardian Australia. “That sort of track only occurs here.”
On the peninsula, dinosaur prints have a particular significance to the Goolarabooloo, a group of indigenous people who believe the tracks are the footprints of their creator spirit Marrala, also known as the Emu Man.
“The whole community is littered with these tracks, local Bart Pigram told Guardian Australia. “They come up every now and then and then they disappear and no one talks about them for 20 years until they pop up again.”
The prints disappear due to irregular tides will sweep sand over these beach prints and hide them from public view for decades.
"As it weathers away we start to see these ancient surfaces emerge. What you're essentially seeing are surfaces that are frozen in time and were walked over by dinosaurs millions of years ago," Salisbury told CNN. "It's quite spectacular."