Photo by: Peter Falkingham/Natural History Museum

Peter Falkingham/Natural History Museum

Dinosaur Footprints from 200 Million Years Ago Discovered in Wales

Members of the public found the former dinosaur “trampling grounds” while at the beach in South Wales.

January 04, 2022

On a beach in Wales, footprints were discovered that scientists believe came from a prehistoric dinosaur some 200 million years ago.

Paleontology experts from London’s Natural History Museum helped lead a study of the tracks, published in Geological Magazine. The prints likely belong to early sauropods or a close relative to the species.

"We believed the impressions we saw at Penarth were consistently spaced to suggest an animal walking. We also saw displacement rims where mud had been pushed up. These structures are characteristic of active movement through the soft ground," Professor Paul Barrett said in the museum’s announcement of findings.

The footprints were found on a beach in Penarth, South Wales by members of the public and first reported to the museum in 2020. They’re believed to date back to the Triassic period, between 201-237 million years ago.

"We know early sauropods were living in Britain at the time," said Dr. Susannah Maidment, a paleontologist at the museum.

The tracks cover an area about 164 feet long, and each footprint measures about 1.6 feet long. The volume of prints indicates the area was a “trample ground” for dinosaurs.

Artwork of a community of titanosaurs. The titanosaurs were a diverse group of sauropod (long-tailed, long-necked) dinosaurs that lived throughout the Mesozoic era. They were the last surviving sauropods, before being wiped out in the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period. The group includes the largest animals ever known to have walked the Earth, with lengths of 30-40 metres and weights up to several dozen tonnes. The largest known among these animals are argentinosaurus and dreadnoughtus, from what is now Argentina, although their remains are very sparse.


Digital animation of a herd of sauropods, the dinosaurs believed to have left the tracks at the South Wales beach.



Digital animation of a herd of sauropods, the dinosaurs believed to have left the tracks at the South Wales beach.

"These types of tracks are not particularly common worldwide, so we believe this is an interesting addition to our knowledge of Triassic life in the UK. The record of Triassic dinosaurs in this country is fairly small, so anything we can find from the period adds to our picture of what was going on at that time," said Barrett.

Scientists hope this discovery will reveal information about the dinosaur’s migration patterns and behavioral qualities around how they walked.

The museum said the footprints, which are already highly weathered, will continue to remain at the beach until they are washed away by the shore.

Next Up

A Majestic City Carved into Rock, Thousands of Years Ago

Carved into soft stone cliffs, the ancient sandstone city of Petra was built in the 3rd century BC by the Nabataeans. These people were a nomadic Arab tribe–Bedouins–who roamed the Arabian Desert in search of pasture and water for their herds.

The Romantic, Heartbreaking Love Story Behind the Taj Mahal

Ivory white columns rise from the earth, framing the central masterpiece: an intricately carved marble domed structure stood on a square plinth, resplendent with arched doorways, and topped by a bronze moon that reaches for the sky.

Women May Have Been Powerful Rulers of the Ancient World

A discovery in Spain has experts wondering whether women were once powerful rulers in ancient Europe.

A Canadian Teen Once Discovered an Ancient Temple – Using Google Maps

Most teenagers while away hours playing video games, scrolling TikTok, or texting friends. Not William Gadoury, a 14-year-old from Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec. Back in 2016, Gadoury was holed up in his bedroom, plotting ancient Mayan constellations against modern satellite images and coordinates.

The Hunt for Outlaw Jesse James’ Treasure

For decades, a story had circulated amongst locals in the Ozarks that Jesse James and his gang had hidden treasure from a bank robbery they’d carried out in 1874.

What's Inside the Secret Chambers in the Pyramids of Giza

A powerful new cosmic ray scan of the Great Pyramid of Giza could finally reveal what’s inside two voids in the structure that have baffled scientists for years.

A Spanish Sunken Galleon Has a $17B Bounty Onboard - and Now You Can See It

Way back in 1708, when the War of Spanish Succession was waging across Europe and Latin America to decide who should be the next King of Spain, three Spanish galleons set sail from Panama. They were loaded to the brim with gold, silver, emeralds, and other jewels that had been extracted from the mines of Bolivia – and were vital in financing Spain’s costly war against its enemies.

3,000-Year-Old Lost City Found in Egypt

3,000-year-old city of Aten has been discovered to be the next best “extraordinary” finding since the tomb of boy king Tutankhamen.

New Seven Wonders of the World

The following list of the New Seven Wonders is presented without ranking, and aims to represent global heritage.

Mummies Found in China Have an Ancient Origin Story

A discovery of mummies in the Tarim Basin in China from the 1990s has finally been demystified. The remains showed evidence of western origin, but after a DNA test, it turns out that these mummies are a bit more local than once thought.