Lily Wilder, age 4, was walking on a beach near Barry, South Wales , UK when she spotted this perfectly preserved dinosaur footprint in the rock. This particular beach is well-known to dinosaur footprint hunters. The imprint Wilder found is around 10cm and was likely made by a fairly small dinosaur, around 75cm tall and 2.5m long, that lived 220 million years ago. The species is unknown. Wilder's family alerted paleontologists who retrieved the footprint for display at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales where it will be accompanied by a plaque bearing Wilder's name as the citizen scientist who spotted it. From the Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum:
Dinosaurs first appeared around 230 million years ago, so this footprint represents a very important early point in their evolution, when the different groups of dinosaurs were first diversifying. Its spectacular preservation may help scientists establish more about the actual structure of their feet as the preservation is clear enough to show individual pads and even claw impressions.
Cindy Howells, Palaeontology Curator, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said "This fossilised dinosaur footprint from 220 million years ago is one of the best-preserved examples from anywhere in the UK and will really aid palaeontologists to get a better idea about how these early dinosaurs walked. Its acquisition by the museum is mainly thanks to Lily and her family who first spotted it.
"During the Covid pandemic scientists from Amgueddfa Cymru have been highlighting the importance of nature on people's doorstep and this is a perfect example of this. Obviously, we don't all have dinosaur footprints on our doorstep but there is wealth of nature local to you if you take the time to really look close enough."
image: Museum Wales