Storm reveals 130 million-year-old dinosaur footprint on Isle of Wight

Peter Stubley
The track could have been left by the meat-eating predator Neovenator during the early Cretaceous period: Wight Coast Fossils

A 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprint was uncovered on the Isle of Wight during Storm Ciara last week, according to fossil hunters.

The track was left preserved in clay by a large three-toed reptile such as the meat-eating predator Neovenator, which can grow up to 10 metres long and weigh up to 4,000kg.

It was found in Sandown Bay on Wednesday by members of the Wight Coast Fossils group, after the area was lashed by 60mph winds and heavy rain over the weekend.

“All this weather is revealing traces of vanished worlds along our coastline,” the group wrote on their Facebook page.

“Shifting sands at Sandown Bay revealed this beautiful 130 million year old dinosaur track yesterday, preserved in the brightly coloured floodplain clays.”

The group, which runs tours of the area, said that the footprint was preserved in what would have been an area of marshland that regularly dried and flooded.

“Our track maker was crossing this environment 130 million years ago, heading southwest in what is now Sandown Bay, leaving these huge tracks in the boggy soil,” they wrote.

“Behind the animal lay a range of low forested hills, while ahead lay a flat floodplain landscape dotted with floodplain forests, river channels, and herds of herbivorous dinosaurs.”

However the footprint may soon disappear as the tide wears down the soft clay on what is known as the “Wessex Formation”.

Violent storms along the south coast have previously revealed a large number of dinosaur footprints near Hastings, East Sussex.

Those tracks included a species of stegosaur, the armoured ankylosaurus and predatory theropod dinosaurs.

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