Apparently we had dinosaurs stomping around New Zealand a few million years ago:
Dinosaur footprints found in northwest Nelson have given scientists their first proof the beasts roamed the South Island more than 70 million years ago. …
The prints are likely to have been made by sauropods, large plant-eating dinosaurs between 2m and 6m long that weighed several tonnes.
Of course, thanks to Joan Wiffen we already knew there had been dinosaurs wandering around here. She first discovered bones in the late 1970s:
‘Dinosaur Lady’ Joan Wiffen (1922-2009) found the first evidence that dinosaurs had inhabited New Zealand.
… It is thanks to Joan Wiffen that it is now established that dinosaurs once walked in New Zealand. Dinosaur bones have since been found in other parts of New Zealand, and fossils of theropod dinosaurs were recently discovered on the Chatham Islands. The hunt goes on.
Wiffen’s dinosaur bones were collected in the North Island; the footprints found in Nelson appear to be the first evidence of dinosaurs in the South Island.
Apparently these were actually found about 10 years ago, and they are around 70 million years old.
Palaeontologist Hamish Campbell says in one of the prints, you can see the heel and toe and how the foot landed and lifted off.
Campbell believes the dinosaur which made the prints was “something about eight metres…and weighing about two to three tonnes”.…
He discovered the footprints in six locations over a 10-kilometre area while studying rock and sediment formations. The largest is about 60cm in diameter while most are 10-20cm in diameter.
It’s just astonishing to me that footprints can survive for 70 million years.
Scientists are keeping the actual location of the find secret.
There are a few short videos with more information available at the TVNZ website.
Image credit: Barapasaurus via Wikimedia Commons.