Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A Vast Hoard Of Australian Polar Dinosaur Tracks

One of the larger tracks found at Milanesia Beach
The discovery of a group of more than 20 three-toed dinosaur tracks in Australia is the largest and best-preserved collection of polar dinosaur tracks found in the Southern Hemisphere. Their discoverer, Dr Anthony Martin of Emory University, said in a press release 'these tracks provide us with a direct indicator of how these dinosaurs were interacting with the polar ecosystems, during an important time in geological history.' 

He also said that 'the small, medium and large tracks may have been made by three different species. They could also belong to two genders and a juvenile of one species,­ a little dinosaur family,­ but that’s purely speculative.' The 105 million year old tracks were discovered in sandstone rocks on the Milanesia Beach at the Great Otoway National Park, Victoria, Australia. Between 115 and 105 million years ago, Australia was joined to the Antarctic. 

Dinosaurs thrived in the region. They were following their annual migration route when they passed over a summer floodplain after the glacial ice had melted. Apart from the tracks they left behind, the team also discovered preserved ripple marks and insect burrows, common features of floodplains. These particular tracks were made by three sizes of large theropod dinosaurs ranging from those of a chicken to a large crane.