Aussie dinos the biggest, or at least their tracks are, according to reports in ABC News 21 & 27 March 2017, BBC News 27 March 2017, and Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, doi:10.1080/02724634.2016.1269539 published online 24 March 2017.
A team of scientists from University of Queensland and James Cook University have mapped out multiple dinosaur trackways on the coast of Western Australia, where they found thousands of tracks at 48 sites on the Dampier Peninsula over 25 km stretch of coastline. On the basis of previous reports of dinosaur tracks in this region the researchers suggest track sites could be spread over more than 200 km (125 miles). The tracks are dated as Lower Cretaceous, 127 to 140 million years ago.
Steve Salisbury of University of Queensland, who led the study, told the BBC “This is the most diverse dinosaur track fauna we’ve ever recorded”. He went on to explain: “Twenty-one different types. There are about six different types of tracks for meat-eating dinosaurs; about the same number for sauropod dinosaurs; about four different types of ornithopod dinosaur tracks – so, two-legged plant-eaters – and really exciting, I think, are six types of armored dinosaur tracks, including stegosaurs, which we’ve never seen before in Australia”.
Some of the sauropod prints are the biggest ever found in the world. One measured 1.7 metres (5ft 7in) long. The researchers estimate the dinosaur that made it was 5.3 to 5.5 metres at the hip. Salisbury commented: “At first it would seem a footprint that size and an animal that big, is it scientifically possible? These animals did exist. They were out there and we’re seeing evidence of them having existed in the Kimberley 130 million years ago based on these tracks”.
According to the ABC “The area was a large river delta 130 million years ago, with dinosaurs crossing wet sandy areas between surrounding forested areas”. Salisbury explained: “There are huge areas around that coastline where all you can see are dinosaur tracks. They’ve just been churned up by dinosaurs, the same as what you see around a dam when a lot of cattle and sheep and kangaroos have come in and made a mess of the mud”. The ABC goes on to explain: “The heavy steps of more than twenty different types of dinosaur compressed the muddy sand when dinosaurs wandered what was then a river plain in Gondwanaland, and were preserved in what would later harden into rock”.
Editorial Comment: To get fossil footprints preserved well enough for scientists to identify what kind of dinosaur made them takes more than just churned up mud waiting to harden into rock. Walking along a beach or through soggy mud will show you that in order to be preserved footprints need to be rapidly and deeply buried.
If the scientists are correct in their estimate that the trackways extend over a region 200 km long, that is a lot of mud for dinosaurs to walk across, followed by a lot more mud to bury the tracks. This amount of rapidly deposited mud requires more than just normal tidal and estuarine flows. Mud layers that size with buried preserved prints require a massive, sudden flood. Perhaps we should try thinking Noah’s flood, not river delta?
Evidence News, vol. 17, No. 5
29 March 2017
Creation Research Australia
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