Engineers from the English Environment Agency found something unusual during a land survey to strengthen the sea defenses of the southern English Isle of Wight: a series of well-preserved dinosaur footprints. The tracks are likely 125 million years old.
The digs are located near the beach café, car park and bus station. It has been invisible for years, but excavations have now brought it to the surface. Experts believe that the prints belong to Mantelisaurus Environment Agency.
Mantlesaurus ate almost exclusively plants, was 7 meters long, weighed 750 kilograms, and had three toes. The animal probably walked on its hind legs like an ostrich. His four feet could only be on the ground when he was standing still or moving slowly.
A fully-grown Mantellisaurus was about twice the length of an average car, but it was not yet among the largest dinosaurs.
“The richest dinosaur site in Europe”
The discovery of the footprints does not come as a surprise to experts. “The Isle of Wight is the richest dinosaur site in Europe,” says Martin Mount, curator at Dinosaur Island Museum.
“We identified 35 different species. The area was also rich in plants, crocodiles, pterosaurs, amphibians, fish and invertebrates such as insects and freshwater mussels.”
This doesn’t make Mont any less happy about discovering the Mantlesaurus footprints. “This is still a wonderful discovery.”
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