Stampede site 'may be dinosaur river crossing'

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Some of the fossilised dinosaur footprints at Lark Quarry in central Queensland.

New research at a site in central-west Queensland suggests the area is not the world's only recorded dinosaur stampede - but a river crossing.

The Lark Quarry Conservation Park at Winton had been believed to be the site of a dinosaur stampede from about 95 million years ago.

But after a two-year study, University of Queensland PhD candidate Anthony Romilio says thousands of footprints at the site were not made all together, but over a period of a few days or weeks.

He believes the site is the bed of an ancient river which dinosaurs were able to wade across, leaving footprints in the soft mud.

"The dinosaurs seemed to be using this area as a highway in fact, and it didn't matter that it was covered in water," he said.

"Even very small dinosaurs ... the size of, say, chickens, were swimming, using the river current to assist their movements.

"The water there wasn't preventing them from going places."

Winton Mayor Butch Lenton says he hopes the new discovery will not affect tourism to the popular site.

He believes the river crossing claim will actually make the destination more interesting.

"There's tracks down there and there's always been views on how they were made," he said.

"But it will be interesting because the different points of view [about] how those tracks got there and how they happened, so it's all interesting."

Mr Romilio agrees his research does not make the western Queensland site any less significant.
He says it is a new interpretation of a track site that was excavated 30 years ago.

"It's quite an amazing site because you have thousands of dinosaur footprints, all or most of them heading in the one direction," he said.

"I guess the analogy is when you go walking on the beach and you see so many footprints of people on the beach, you think, 'Hey, did this occur all at one time ... or at different times?'"


Post a Comment