Ancient 160-Million-Year-Old dinosaur footprints stumbled upon by coal miners in Queensland prove that a huge dinosaur larger than the average Tyrannosaurus Rex once roamed through the region’s swampland, a local palaentologist says.
The footprints, that measure up to 80cm in length, were discovered by miners in the 1950s and 1960s but were only recently studied by scientists at the University of Queensland.
Head researcher and paleontologist Dr Anthony Romilio told Daily Mail Australia he had no idea why such significant fossils had not been analysed before.
‘This is the largest footprint that we have of a meat-eating dinosaur,’ he said.
‘(The footprint) is 80cm in length which translates to ten metres in (body) length from snout to tail tip, and to put that into perspective the largest known T-Rex was between 12 and 13 metres.’
While the dinosaur described as ‘badass’ by Dr Romilio does not officially have a name, the fossilised footprints are known as kayentapus.
Dr Romilio said the consistently large size of the footprints proved the animal was one of the largest predatory dinosaurs in the world and was even larger than an average T-Rex.
While the largest discovered T-Rex remains had measured 12-13 metres long and were estimated to have weighed just under 10 tons, the average of the species was a little over half that size.
‘If you were to put a saddle on its back you would be about 3.5 metres off the ground,’ Dr Romilio said of the Australian-discovered creature.
‘We do have other fossils of meat-eating dinosaurs but they range from about the size of a chicken to the size of cattle,’ he said.
Not only was the dinosaur huge but they were also fast, allowing them to chase down their herbivore prey with ease.
Some of these really big dinosaurs would be running at about 35km/h,’ he said.
‘The average speed of a person is about 25km/h so you really need to be bold if you approach one of these guys.’
The footprints or tracks are aged between 165 and 151 million-years-old placing them in the latter part of the Jurassic Period.
Dr Romilio said the footprints were imprinted into swamp land before they were discovered millions of years later on the ceiling of underground coal mines near Ipswich and Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.
Dr Romilio said there is a lot that can be learned from footprints alone and it allowed researchers to map out significant details of the animal accurately.
‘We can learn the type of dinosaur in the area, you can see how fast or slow the animal is moving, are they in a heard and what they eat,’ he said.
Due to the vast amount of footprints that were studied, Dr Romilio said researchers were able to better understand the animals that made up the ecosystem millions of years ago.
He now hopes the footprints will result in the eventual discovery of a full skeleton that would give palaeontologist considerable incite into what is believed to be Australia’s largest meat eating dinosaur.
‘I guess they are just still buried and waiting to be discovered by some lucky person,’ he said.
‘Hopefully someone can find it for me so I can and do some research.’