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Australia Earth Science

World's Largest Dinosaur Footprints Discovered In Western Australia (theguardian.com) 74

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The largest known dinosaur footprints have been discovered in Western Australia, including 1.7 meter prints left by gigantic herbivores. Until now, the biggest known dinosaur footprint was a 106cm track discovered in the Mongolian desert and reported last year. At the new site, along the Kimberley shoreline in a remote region of Western Australia, paleontologists discovered a rich collection of dinosaur footprints in the sandstone rock, many of which are only visible at low tide. The prints, belonging to about 21 different types of dinosaur, are also thought to be the most diverse collection of prints in the world. Steve Salisbury, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Queensland told ABC News: "We've got several tracks up in that area that are about 1.7 meters long. So most people would be able to fit inside tracks that big, and they indicate animals that are probably around 5.3 to 5.5 meters at the hip, which is enormous." "It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia's dinosaur fauna during the first half of the early Cretaceous period," he said. The findings were reported in the Memoir of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. The largest tracks belonged to sauropods, huge Diplodocus-like herbivores with long necks and tails. The scientists also discovered tracks from about four different types of ornithopod dinosaurs (two-legged herbivores) and six types of armored dinosaurs, including Stegosaurs, which had not previously been seen in Australia. At the time the prints were left, 130m years ago, the area was a large river delta and dinosaurs would have traversed wet sandy areas between surrounding forests.
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World's Largest Dinosaur Footprints Discovered In Western Australia

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is Australia. Those prints could be fresh.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      No. They would have been killed off by something meaner and more poisonous.

  • Amazing! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @08:29AM (#54133849) Journal
    When you think you're having a bad day, imagine what daily life must've been like for our mammalian ancestors in this age of giant dinos.

    Perhaps even more amazing, consider the catastrophic bad luck that befell the planet's dominant life form, and allowed our kind a window in which to proliferate.

    • I always thought that. But, when I see videos of jaguars attacking caimans and mongooses and honeybadgers attacking cobras and mambas, I start to realise how adept mammals are at killing. I think we over identify with some of our most lethal cousins. Just because I'm a mammal and I'm not a killing machine doesn't mean a cheetah or wolf pack isn't totally bad ass. WAY more scary than a velociraptor - https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

      • There's a theory that homo sapiens proliferate today, rather than Neanderthals and Denisovians, partly because of their propensity for violent eradication of those who are different.
        • The irony is that the homosapien's violent nature wouldn't necessarily be enough to beat down on neanderthals since they were bigger and smarter than us, and that it was our SOCIAL nature that allowed us to gang up on them. Irony being that despite it (social behavior) being quite possibly the reason we became the dominant (and I suppose only remaining) hominid, we still can't get along.
          • I could have the timeline wrong, but I recall hearing a hypothesis that sapiens had domesticated dogs and Neanderthals had not, which would be a tremendous advantage competitively.
          • The irony is that the homosapien's violent nature wouldn't necessarily be enough to beat down on neanderthals since they were bigger and smarter than us, and that it was our SOCIAL nature that allowed us to gang up on them. Irony being that despite it (social behavior) being quite possibly the reason we became the dominant (and I suppose only remaining) hominid, we still can't get along.

            Not only that. They have better tools and were built better for running and long distance trekking than Neanderthals.

            There is very little to suggest Homo Sapien killed off Neanderthals in direct confrontations. It was more a function of out-breeding them and out-competing them in harvesting resources. Barring a plague, over-predation or genocide, to go extinct, you do not need to get killed off or fail. You just need to succeed less often over millenia.

        • Fighting for territory is seen in many animal species though. It's not a "human only" trait. Homosapien 'victory' could be just as easily explained by better survivability (due to our ability to survive on the poorer diet that existed after the end of the ice age) expanding and pushing out some, while assimilating and mating with others.

          There is also strong evidence that Neanderthals and Humans were on friendly terms [npr.org]. Another factor that might be worth considering: in the historical period, even when arm
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Dinosaurs had a good run, they ruled for hundreds of millions of years. Eventually warm blooded species (birds and mammals) took over as the climate cooled; it would be interesting to see what happens if the Earth warms enough to give cold blooded species an advantage.
      • Except, sauropod dinosaurs were probably warm-blooded, just like an ostrich, penguin, chicken, pigeon, owl, or hawk is now.

        T-Rex was basically the biggest, most bad-ass ostrich the world has ever known(*). And make no mistake... an angry ostrich can fuck you up quite badly.

        (*) In terms of genetic distance, T-Rex had more in common with a modern sparrow than it did with any modern reptile or amphibian.

    • When you think you're having a bad day, imagine what daily life must've been like for our mammalian ancestors in this age of giant dinos.

      I asked and Bernie said it was pretty nice. ;)

    • Perhaps even more amazing, consider the catastrophic bad luck that befell the planet's dominant life form, and allowed our kind a window in which to proliferate.

      There have been 5 major extinction events we know of, and at least 20 minor ones we know of, in the last 600 million years or so.

      That is decidedly not "catastrophic bad luck." More like clockwork.

    • by Eloking ( 877834 )

      When you think you're having a bad day, imagine what daily life must've been like for our mammalian ancestors in this age of giant dinos.

      Perhaps even more amazing, consider the catastrophic bad luck that befell the planet's dominant life form, and allowed our kind a window in which to proliferate.

      Well I'd say it'll be comparable to, let's say, all of the animal kingdoms.

      Disney's Bambi is nice and all, but in reality the life of like 99.99999% of all species is a constant struggle for survival.

      Except maybe for the sloth and the honey badger, honey badger doesn't give a fuck.

  • Why the sudden switch from meters to cm when 106cm is 1.06 Meters? Comparing 1.7 to 1.06 is much easier to process, instead of making us go through the double check in our mind that we got the units right.

    • by tsqr ( 808554 )

      Why the sudden switch from meters to cm when 106cm is 1.06 Meters? Comparing 1.7 to 1.06 is much easier to process, instead of making us go through the double check in our mind that we got the units right.

      Relax. It's not as if you're being asked to compare 0.211 rods with 0.085 furlongs.

    • +1

      I was going to post the same thing.. Although I guess we have to be happy they didn't mix metric and imperial as is apt to happen here.

    • Because the author didn't want to screw up the conversion (dividing by 100 is hard...) and thus just used the exact number from the article they referenced.

    • Because anyone who is proficient with the metric system will not have any problem with this conversion and not even notice it. This is the fun part about the metric system. Yards to feet is a clumsy factor of three. With metrics you just move the decimal a tad.

      If this is becoming too difficulty for people I really do hope we go the way of the dinosaurs.

  • The story can't be that these are newly discovered footprints. The aboriginals have known about them long enough that they are a part of their creation myths. Or is it just that white people know about them now?
    • The story can't be that these are newly discovered footprints. The aboriginals have known about them long enough that they are a part of their creation myths. Or is it just that white people know about them now?

      Sweet. Where did they publish their findings?

    • Maybe try reading the article?

  • The perpetrators were intelligent raptors planting fake footprints to catch non-expecting dinosaurs with the Giant Old Biped Saurean Male Achillobator Creaking Killer Evading Detection experience. All a velociraptor joke to scare other dinosaurs. So they could eat them while paralyzed and gobsmacked with fear. Clever, clever girl ...

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