East Sussex has exposed over 85 well-preserved dinosaur footprints made of at least seven different species representing a diverse and detailed collection of the snake period found in the United Kingdom for these trace crops.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge identified footprints in 2014 and 2018 when coastal erosion was followed by cliffs near Hastings. Many footprints ranging from less than 2 cm to over 60 cm are so well preserved that fine details of skin, scales and nails are easily visible.
Footprints originate from the lower serpent era, 145-100 million years ago, and prints for vegetarians, including Iguanodon, Ankylosaurus, the species of stegosaurus and possible examples of the sauropod group (containing Diplodocus and Brontosaurus); as well as meat eating teropods. The results have been reported in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
Over the last 160 years, the Sussex coast has had occasional reports of fossil dinosaurs, but no significant new findings have been reported during the past quarter, and the earlier findings were much smaller and more detailed than in the current study.
The Hastings region is one of the richest dinosaurs in the United Kingdom, including the first known Iguanodon in 1825 and the first confirmed example of fossil dinosaur brain tissue in 2016. The remaining fossils such as footprints that can help scientists learn more about the composition of dinosaur communities are less common in the region.
"The fossil fossils of the whole body are incredibly rare," says Anthony Shillito, Cambridge Country Officer, and the first author of the paper. "Generally, you will only get small pieces that do not tell much about how the dinosaur may have lived, such a collection of footsteps will help you fill some gaps and find out where dinosaurs live in the same place at the same time."
The footprints described in this study, written by Shillito together with Dr. Neil Davies, were revealed during the last four winters when severe storms and storm clouds led to the collapse of sandstone and mudstone.
In the Greek period, the area where footprints were discovered was likely to be close to the source of water, and in addition to the footprints, several fossilized plants and invertebrates were also found.
"In order to remain, you need the right environment," Davies said. "The soil must be" sticky "so that the footprint leaves the mark, but not so wet that it is washed away. You need this balance to capture and preserve them."
"The great abundance and versatility of these prints will also see incredible detail," said Shillito. "You can easily see the skin and scales texture as well as the four-nail marks that are extremely rare.
"You can get an idea of what dinosaurs made them from footsteps – comparing them to those we know about dinosaur's other fossilized fossils, you can identify important similarities, and you can look at the footsteps from other places.
As part of his research, Shillito explores how dinosaurs have been able to influence river rivers. In modern times, large animals such as hippo or cow can create small channels that direct some power.
"Given the large number of dinosaurs, it is highly likely that they will affect the river in the same way, but it is difficult to find" smoking "because most of the footprints have just been washed away," said Shillito. "However, we see smaller evidence of their impact, in some of the deeper footsteps we can see growing plants, and we have also found evidence of footsteps along the river channels, so it is possible for dinosaurs to participate in these channels."
It is likely that there are many more dinosaur specimens hidden in East Sussex's devastating sandstone cliffs, but preventing the coastline erosion process from slowing down or blocking in the area may mean that they remain caught inside the cliff.
The study was funded by the Nature Conservation Research Council (NERC).