There's a stretch of the Western Australia coastline that used to be a thoroughfare for giants. Everyone knows dinosaurs were big, but sometimes it takes comparing footprints to put things into perspective. In the case of this one particular fossilized footprint, however, there's no comparison.
Australian researchers have traced out the largest dinosaur footprint ever found, an intimidating 5-foot, 9-inch long impression made by a giant sauropod as it sauntered about some 130 million years ago. It's so large that it could easily cover an adult human. It's a good thing these beasts were vegetarians.
The sauropod footprint might be most notable one due to its size, but the region is teeming with other incredible dinosaur footprints, too. In fact, this stretch of coastline has been dubbed Australia's "Jurassic Park," and might be the most diverse collection of dinosaur tracks ever uncovered.
"There were five different types of predatory dinosaur tracks, at least six types of tracks from long-necked herbivorous sauropods, four types of tracks from two-legged herbivorous ornithopods, and six types of tracks from armored dinosaurs," said Steve Salisbury, lead author of the study, in a press release.
The impressions include those left by stegosaurs, the only known evidence ever found in Australia of these prickly-tailed beasts.
Most of the tracks only become exposed during low tides, making their discovery all the more adventurous, but it's worth noting that the tracks are only new to science. The aboriginal Goolarabooloo community, which has long inhabited this region, have known about them for many years. The tracks have even inspired some of their myths and legends. For instance, the three-toed prints hold special significance, tracing out the journey of the Dreamtime creator Marala, who was part man, part emu.
Researchers used drones to more effectively document the region's many tracks during hours when low tides left them exposed. You can view some of the spectacular footage in the following video: