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Photo of the dinosaur footprint discovered by four-year-old Lily Wilder. // Photo courtesy of Richard Wilder.

220-million-year-old dinosaur footprint discovered in Wales by a young girl

By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, February 22 2021—

Lily Wilder, a four-year-old girl, was walking alongside her parents at a Welsh beach when she made the discovery of a dinosaur footprint. It is estimated by paleontologists that the fossil has been there for over 220 million years.

It is still unknown what species of dinosaur the footprint belonged to. According to the CBC, it is believed that the ancient creature “was likely about 2.5 metres long, and 75 centimetres tall.”

In a press release by the National Museum Wales, it was stated that “there are no fossilised bones from this 220-million-year-old dinosaur, but similar footprints in the USA are known to have been made by the dinosaur Coelophysis which does not occur in the UK.” 

Richard Wilder, Lily’s father, told Carol Off, host of the show As It Happens, that the four-year-old is now very interested in dinosaurs and that his daughter, “carries a toy Tyrannosaurus rex everywhere she goes,” despite having been afraid of dinosaurs before the discovery. 

“Now she’s a massive dinosaur fan,” her father explained. 

The footprint was an unexpected finding, as the Wilder family were walking on Bendricks bay beach looking for shells, as reported by the BBC Online

It is also not the first time that fossils have been found in the area, particularly footprints. Although as noted in the press release, many of them were of “crocodilian-type reptiles” that lived in this zone.

After her discovery, Wilder’s name will be placed on a plaque once the footprint is displayed at the National Museum Cardiff. 

The finding will help paleontologists to better understand the evolutionary processes that dinosaurs undergo.

“This fossilised dinosaur footprint from 220 million years ago is one of the best-preserved examples from anywhere in the UK and will really aid palaeontologists to get a better idea about how these early dinosaurs walked,” said Paleontologist Curator Cindy Howells of the National Museum of Wales.

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