Footprints believed to belong to the last of the dinosaurs that roamed the United Kingdom have been discovered near the White Cliffs of Dover.
The discovery by Philip Hadland, a curator at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, is considered the last record of dinosaurs in Britain and dates from the early Cretaceous Period, or about 110 million years ago, the BBC reported.
According to Hadland, stormy conditions exposed new fossils of at least six different species’ prints found in the cliffs and on the foreshore of Folkestone, Kent, the outlet reported.
The tracks, formed by sediment, are believed to have been left by ankylosaurs, theropods and ornithopods.
“Back in 2011, I came across unusual impressions in the rock formation at Folkestone. All I could think was they might be footprints,” Hadland told the BBC.
“This was at odds with what most geologists say about the rocks here, but I went looking for more footprints and, as the tides revealed more by erosion, I found even better ones,” he added.
According to a paper published in the journal, “Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association,” sediment filled in the impressions left behind when a dinosaur’s foot pushed into the ground, The National Herald reported.
David Martill, a professor of paleobiology at the University of Portsmouth who helped Hadland verify his discovery, called the find “quite extraordinary” because it represents the first documented dinosaur footprints found in the “Folkestone Formation.”
“They were walking around close to where the White Cliffs of Dover are now ... Next time you’re on a ferry, and you see those magnificent cliffs, just imagine that,” Martill told the outlet.
Some of the footprints are currently on display at Folkestone Museum, the BBC reported.
©2021 Cox Media Group