The biggest dinosaur footprint on record has been found in Western Australia measuring a colossal 1.7 metres.
It’s the biggest since they found a 1-metre footprint in the Mongolian desert last year.
The print belongs to the sauropod family. Bigger than a brontosaurus the dinosaur is estimated to be 5.3 to 5.5 metres at the hip, which according to Steve Salisbury, Queensland vertebra palaeontologist is enormous.
The footprints were located on the north-western coast of Western Australia and reveal the journey the giant sauropods took up and down the coast of Western Australia.
We've got several tracks up in that area that are about 1.7 metres long
The dinosaur is so huge that scientists were questioning whether or not it was possible for anything living to be that size and for this reason, the prints were initially overlooked.
These animals did exist. They were out there and we're seeing evidence of them having existed in the Kimberley 130 million years ago based on these tracks…Some of them are so big we didn't really notice them for some time because they're sort of beyond your search image for a dinosaur track. Said Salisbury.
Remarkably they’re not the only footprints that were found in the area, they’re just one of 21 different species.
"With 21 different types of tracks represented, that makes it the most diverse dinosaur footprint fauna in the world," Dr Salisbury said.
Image: Supplied by Dr Steve Salisbury
130 million years ago the area was a large river that dinosaurs would cross between forest areas. Apparently there are areas around the coastline where all you can see are dinosaur tracks.
Dr Salisbury started his investigation after the area was listed as a gas processing facility.
When the area was selected as the site for a liquid natural gas processing precinct, it was assumed there was nothing there. This is where we got contacted to come in and have closer look, and it didn't take long for us to realise that … there was a spectacular dinosaur track fauna preserved there that was at risk.
Thanks to Salisbury and his discovery the area is now heritage listed. His hopes are that people will visit the area to see and understand the traditions of the Walmadan people and the land’s prehistoric history.
"So spend time walking through there, learning the stories and seeing things as they come up during that walk."
Watch: Lead author Dr Steve Salisbury of The University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences discusses the diversity of tracks around Walmadany in Western Australia. Source: University Of Queensland
Header: Richard Hunter lies next to footprint, photo supplied by Steve Salisbury