February 3, 2021: A four-year-old girl discovers dinosaur imprints while casually strolling on the beach and the fossil turns out to be 220 million years old. Talk of momentous discoveries made unawares.
Lily Wilder, with her father and their pet dog, were having a quiet walk along the beach of Bendricks Bay in South Wales in the Vale of Glamorgan, UK, when she happened to notice an imprint which was very well preserved.
“It was Lily and Richard, her father, who discovered the footprint. Lily saw it when they were walking along the beach and said ‘daddy look.’ When Richard came home and showed me the photograph, I thought it looked amazing. Richard thought it was too good to be true. I was put in touch with experts who took it from there,” said Lily’s mother.
Lily’s TV show comes to life
Lily, who loves dinosaur television shows and has a collection of toys and models, has her favourite one, the T-REX. While she played with her little brother George who is one year old, Sally, Lily’s mother said that he encouraged parents facing coronavirus lockdown restrictions to take their children for walks in nature, where it is safely possible to walk around.
“We are going to keep encouraging exploring outside. It is great as it gets them really interested and the whole family can learn together,” said Sally.
“It was on a low rock, shoulder height for Lily, and she just spotted it and said, ‘look daddy.’ She is really excited but does not quite grasp how amazing it is,” stated Sally Wilder, who is 41 years old being an engineer and Lily’s mother.
Lily’s find: Girl discovers dinosaur imprints
The pictures that were taken by Lily’s father were shared with the family after Lily’s grandmother encouraged them to reach out to local experts and fossil enthusiasts.
“We were thrilled to find out it really was a dinosaur footprint, and I am happy that it will be taken to the national museum where it can be enjoyed and studied for generations,” said Sally Wilder.
What the experts and the National Museum of Wales said
The Wales museum shared a picture of the dinosaur imprint along with a caption reading “A well preserved dinosaur footprint has been discovered on a beach near Barry in South Wales and could help scientists establish more about how dinosaurs walked.”
Also, according to the official website of the museum, Bendricks Bay is well known for its dinosaur footprints that were “preserved for 220 million years in desert muds.”
Girl discovers dinosaur imprint
The footprint of the dinosaur that Lily discovered by chance, has been identified as a type of footprint which is called a Grallator.
Girl discovers dinosaur imprints, which is said to be over 10 centimetres long and most likely is of a dinosaur that stood around 75 centimetres tall, and 2.5 metre long as has been stated by the website.
“Although it is impossible to identify exactly which type of dinosaur left the 3.9 inch footprint, some facts are discernible. It is likely the footprint was made by a dinosaur that stood about 75 centimetres (29.5 inches) tall and 2.5 metres (about 8 feet) long. It would have been a slender animal with a tail that walked on its two hind feet and actively hunted other small animals and insects. It is brilliant. It really is stunning preservation…you can see every detail of the muscles and where the joints are in the foot. It is likely that wales and many other land masses historically had dinosaurs roaming around them. Sadly, there are no fossilized bones to match the print, but similar footprints have been found in the United States, known to have been made by the dinosaur ‘ coelophysis’,” stated Cindy Howells of Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum of Wales palaeontology curator.
“We have not even found a fraction of the total species of dinosaurs yet,” stated Howells while adding that the imprint Lily found provides a very useful clue.
Bendricks Bay specimens
The specimens found at Bendricks Bay in the past are thought to be from more crocodilian-type reptiles rather than dinosaurs. Special permission had to be sought from natural resources Wales to legally remove the footprint, with the fossil extracted this week and taken to the National Museum at Cardiff where it would be preserved.
“Its spectacular preservation may help scientists establish more about the actual structure of their feet as the preservation is clear enough to show individual pads and even claw impressions,” stated the National Museum of Wales.
The Bendricks is a stretch of coastline between Barry and Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan. It is an important palaeontological site and a site of special scientific interest.
The South Wales group of the geologist’s association called the place the “best site in Britain for dinosaur tracks of the Triassic period.”
It stated, “The footprints can be difficult to see. Many are covered at high tide so it is best to go after high tide when the tracks may retain small puddles of water. It is also easier to spot the footprints when the sun is low in the sky as longer shadows will help throw the footprints into relief.”
The Welsh beach is protected as a site of special scientific interest, and the preserved fossil has now been safely removed. It will soon be taken to the National Museum Cardiff for future generations to enjoy and for scientists to study, stated the museum.
The museum is currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and said that once it reopens, it will be inviting Lily and her school class will be invited to see the article and have her name listed beside it as an official finder.