American dino may have swum all the way to Skye 170 million years ago

June 2nd, 2009 - 2:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Edinburgh, June 2 (ANI): An analysis has revealed that 170 million-year-old dinosaur tracks found in America are similar to a three-toed dino that once roamed the Isle of Skye in Scotland, which suggests that the Wyoming dino may have swum or waded over to Skye.

The tracks are so similar that Glasgow paleontologist Neil Clark believes the Wyoming dinosaurs may have swum over to Skye, which at that time was part of an island off the east coast of America.

According to a report in the Scotsman, US scientists now plan to put his theories to the test, using 3D mapping technology to compare both sets of footprints.

“The fact that the footprints in Wyoming and the ones in Scotland are so similar suggest that they may have been produced by a very similar kind of dinosaur, if not the same species. It is just a case of comparing them to see if they match,” said Dr Clark, Curator of Paleontology at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.

Many of the dinosaur prints on Skye were discovered in the 1980s when cliffs crumbled into the sea.

The prints in Wyoming were found in 1997, along the shoreline of what would have been the Sundance Sea.

Using the evidence of the footprints, which are between one and eight inches long, Dr Clark believes the tracks were made by a two-legged therapod, which would have been around two metres long and around one metre high.

Dr Clark said he was delighted scientists in Wyoming were to test his theory that the inhabitants of Skye and Red Gulch may have migrated across the continent and waded or swum across to Skye.

At that time, Scotland and Wyoming were 2,500 miles apart, rather than 4,500 miles distant as they are today.

“I don’t mind if they prove I’m right or they disprove the theory, but it is always good to see the advancement of our knowledge,” said Dr Clark.

According to Brent Breithaupt, head of the Geological Museum at the University of Wyoming, the 3D imaging techniques will make minute comparisons of the dimensions of both sets of prints.

The new technology uses overlapping photographs to construct 3D images which can then be measured and compared in detail.

“The tracks are similar, that’s what we know. It more than likely indicates similar types of dinosaurs living at higher latitudes at some point in time,” Dr Breithaupt said. (ANI)

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