Paleontologists recently announced the discovery of the largest dinosaur site in Scotland. Located on the remote and beautiful Isle of Skye, the site was originally of interest because of the discovery of fossilized bones. But when researchers went on a scouting mission, they discovered something even more incredible: massive dinosaur footprints.
“There are so many tracks crossing each other that it looks like a dinosaur disco preserved in stone," Dr. Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, told the U.K. Telegraph. “By following the tracks you can walk with these dinosaurs as they waded through a lagoon 170 million years ago, when Scotland was so much warmer than today.”
With the average size of the prints measuring an impressive 27 inches across, the researchers believe they came from a family of sauropod dinosaurs, the largest animals to live on land.
While the location of these prints on the Isle of Skye has yet to be revealed, there are places around the world where you can literally walk with the dinosaurs — or at least next to fossilized impressions left by the dinosaurs. Below are some of the best such places in the U.S. where you can take a stroll back through time.
Dinosaur Valley State Park | Glen Rose, Texas
Covering some 1,500 acres, the aptly named Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas contains the fossilized dinosaur prints of two-legged carnivorous theropods and four-legged herbivore sauropods. The prints, estimated to be about 112 million years old, can be found all over the park, but are best discovered when water levels are low in late summer. One of the sites even includes a rare tail impression left behind in the limestone.
Clayton Lake State Park | Clayton, New Mexico
A portion of the more than 500 dinosaur tracks in sandstone at Clayton Lake, New Mexico. (Photo: Sue Ruth/flickr)
Exposed after a major flood swept away silt in 1982, nearly 500 dinosaur prints make up the "Dinosaur Freeway" in Clayton Lake State Park. Estimated at roughly 100 million years old, the tracks belong to large herbivore dinosaurs such as ornithopods and theropods. All sizes are represented too, from a 1-foot baby to a 30-foot adult. As an example of the detail present in the sandstone, there is even fossilized evidence that one dinosaur slipped in the mud and used his/her tail to regain balance.
Dinosaur State Park | Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Dinosaur State Park in Connecticut is home to one of the largest dinosaur tracks in the world. (Photo: Rain0975/flickr)
You never know what you might find when you start excavating for a new building project. That's what happened in 1966, when a bulldozer operator in Connecticut overturned a slab of sandstone and discovered some incredibly well-preserved dinosaur tracks. The site was subsequently further excavated and found to contain one of the largest set of dinosaur tracks in the world. The 2,000 prints, all originating from a carnivorous species some 200 million years ago, are now covered under a 55,000-square-foot geodesic dome.
Dinosaur Footprints Wilderness Reservation | Holyoke, Massachusetts
The outline of a dinosaur footprint at Dinosaur Footprints Wilderness Reservation in Holyoke, Mass. (Photo: Robert Gray/flickr)
Hundreds of tracks from four different species of dinosaurs are available for you to explore at the Dinosaur Footprints wilderness reservation in Holyoke, Massachusetts. First discovered in the mid-19th century, the tracks are estimated to be roughly 200 million years old. Most of the prints belong to small, medium and large theropod dinosaurs. Visitors can also see imprints of prehistoric plants, as well as the fossilized ripple bars of an ancient pool.
Dinosaur Ridge | Morrison, Colorado
Dinosaur Ridge is home to over 300 tracks from dinosaurs living roughly 140 million years ago. (Photo: FootWarrior/Wiki Commons)
Like other accidental discoveries on this list, Dinosaur Ridge's fossilized tracks were uncovered during the construction of a parkway in the late 1930s. The hundreds of impressions were created by massive brontosauruses, iguanodons and other dinos from when Colorado was once a wet, tropical paradise. Look closely and you can even spot imprints left behind by mangrove roots. The fossilized prints here are estimated to be about 140 million years old.