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.

1301755045

1301755045

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

Photo by: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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

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.

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.

Climb England’s Stomach-Churning Iron Way

Adventure into Victorian England with rickety bridges and vertical climbs across a 19th-century mine.

New Seven Wonders of the World

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

An Epic Road Trip in Scotland’s Remote Highlands

Drive 500 miles of stunning scenic roads and forget relying on GPS -- this road trip is for explorers only!

5 Magical Reasons to Visit Iceland

Be prepared to be wowed by this unique island country.

Historic Adventures Along Italy’s Mediterranean Coast

Perched on the dramatic coast of Italy, just north of Pisa, there are five small hamlets, known collectively as “The Cinque Terre”.

Discovering Europe’s Last Wild Rivers

Rivers in the Balkans are largely free-flowing, unlike other bodies of water on the continent. They are home to endemic species of fish, provide habitats for birds, and a playground for watersport daredevils.

Faroe Islands

The windswept, fairytale archipelago begging to be explored

Awesome Fjords in Norway

Avoid the crowds and adventure into the north of Norway. Norway is known for it’s awesome fjords. But what exactly is a fjord? It’s a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs that formed after several ice ages. Find out where to avoid the crowds and visit these natural wonders on your next adventure.