Scientists have discovered new fossil footprints of dinosaurs along the shores of Scotland’s Isle of Skye, unearthing clues about the strolls taken by the giant reptiles, and the region's ecosystem between 174 and 164 million years ago.
According to their study, the Isle of Skye was home to a thriving community of dinosaurs that stomped across the ancient coastline during the Middle Jurassic Period. The researchers said this period was a time of major evolutionary diversification in many dinosaur groups.
However, they said dinosaur fossils from this time period are generally rare, with the exception of the Isle of Skye. This region, the scientists said, yielded body and trace fossils of diverse Middle Jurassic ecosystems, serving as a valuable location for paleontological science as well as tourism.
The study, described two recently discovered fossil sites preserving around 50 dinosaur footprints on ancient coastal wetlands.
The scientists reported the first record on the Isle of Skye of a track type called Deltapodus, which they said was most likely created by a stegosaurian (plate-backed) dinosaur.
The findings, according to the researchers, reflect the importance of footprints as a source of information supplemental to body fossils.