University researchers say giant dinosaur footprints discovered on a Scottish island are helping them to understand more about the creatures that roamed the Earth in the Jurassic period.
The 170 million-year-old tracks were made in a muddy lagoon off the north-east coast of what is now the Isle of Skye.
Most of the prints were made by the “older cousins” of Tyrannosaurus Rex, called theropods – which stood up to two metres tall – and by long-necked plant-eating sauropods, which resemble the better known Brontosaurus.
These could have been anything up to 15 metres tall and weighed more than 10 tonnes.
Dinosaur prints have been found on Skye for several years, but the latest set of 50 prints were found in much older rock formations.
Dr Steve Brusatte, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the field team, said that in the Jurassic period Skye would have had a tropical climate similar to Spain or Florida in the US.
The Jurassic period spanned 56 million years, dating from the end of the Triassic period (more than 200 million years ago) to the beginning of Cretaceous Period about 145 million years ago.
The researchers mapped the site using drones and other camera equipment for a study which was published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.
The largest of the prints were 70cm across, left by a sauropod, while the largest theropod print was about 50cm across.