Dinosaur footprint: shellfish collector discovers ‘real Jurassic giant’ footprint in Yorkshire

Yorkshire is renowned for its dinosaur tracks, and this latest discovery marks the largest print ever found in the region

A dinosaur footprint which has been described as a “real Jurassic giant” has been found on the Yorkshire coast.

The discovery is actually the largest dinosaur footprint ever found in Yorkshire, and was found by Archaeologist Marie Woods who was collecting shellfish on the beach.

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She said: “I was grabbing some shellfish for dinner. I didn’t collect much after seeing that.”

‘Could be lost to the sea’

Woods said that she was collecting shellfish at the time and was shocked to suddenly discover the huge print - she is hoping that it will be possible to save it before it is washed away by the water.

Woods explains that the print is “in a fragile state” and because it sits close to the water level, “it could be lost to the sea”.

Following her discovery, Woods contacted specialists including palaeontologist Dr Dean Lomax, the author of Dinosaurs of the British Isles.

The discovery is considered to be the most significant find since 2006 (Photo: Marie Woods)

Dr Lomax said that Woods’s discovery actually turned out to be a rediscovery, as it had previously been partially spotted by fossil collector Rob Taylor back in November 2020.

While Taylor had posted pictures of his find in a Facebook group dedicated to fossils from Yorkshire at the time, the fossil was not yet fully exposed, and so no-one realised its true importance.

Both Woods and Taylor have finders’ rights to the footprint, and it is hoped that it will go on public display at the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough.

‘Largest theropod footprint found in Yorkshire

Dr Lomax said: “This is the largest theropod footprint ever found in Yorkshire, made by a large meat-eating dinosaur.

“We know this because the shape and three-toed track, along with the impression of the claws, are absolutely spot-on for having been made by a large theropod that probably had a hip height of about 2.4 metres and possible body length approaching eight to nine metres - so a real Jurassic giant.

“We can never be certain of exactly what species made it, but the footprint type would match the likes of a dinosaur found in Britain and called Megalosaurus, which lived at roughly the same time this footprint was created, during the Middle Jurassic.”

Dr Lomax added: “Yorkshire’s coast is world renowned for its dinosaur tracks, primarily through research by Dr Mike Romano and Dr Martin Whyte, who spent around 20 years researching and discovering hundreds [to] thousands of tracks.”

Dr Lomax said that he is “very grateful that [Taylor] and Marie have made this discovery” and hoped “that the specimen can be rescued for science”.