Miniature T-Rex foot found on Welsh beach
Student paleontologist Sam Davies, who is in his third year at the University of Portsmouth, made the discovery while searching for fossils on the beach.
“It was pure luck that I found it. It was just sitting on top of a slab of rock,” Davis told the Guardian.
“It was obvious the fossil was fingers or toes, because there were three in a row, but the first thing that came to mind was that it was some sort of plesiosaur.”
Experts believe the fossilized foot is from the same animal whose skeleton was found after a section of cliff broke away onto the beach last year. The local Jurassic cliffs are known to be a rich source of fossils.
The species lived around 200 million years ago, was only 19 inches tall and is a miniature version of the T-Rex.
“The timing of this was critical,” University of Portsmouth paleobiologist Dr. David Martill told the Guardian.
“If I hadn’t put Sam on this project, if he hadn’t been there at that time, if the cliff fall hadn’t happened, if the tide had come in, then Sam wouldn’t have found it. This was a chance in a million find and highlights how important it is to encourage fossil-hunting in this country.”
“This new specimen will help us chart the evolution of dinosaur feet, specifically looking at the number of toes and the nature of the ankle bone,” Martill added.
Davies has given his find to the National Museum Wales where it will be reunited with the rest of the skeleton which is on show until the end of March next year.