Coastal erosion reveals incredibly well-preserved dinosaur footprints in southern England

At least 85 dinosaur footprints have been discovered in East Sussex, southern England — relatively close to the town of Hastings, where William the Conqueror won one of the most famous battles in history in 1066, essentially starting his conquering of England. But way before William was making his way across the English Channel, England had a completely different set of occupants: dinosaurs.

The footprints date from the Lower Cretaceous epoch, between 145 and 100 million years ago, and are a very varied bunch, belonging to herbivores including Iguanodon, Ankylosaurus (a species of stegosaur), as well as species from the sauropod group (which included Diplodocus and Brontosaurus) and meat-eating theropods (the group to which T-Rex also belonged).

The discovery is extremely fortuitous. Not only would there need to be a very particular environment to draw all these dinosaurs together (like a water source) but the conditions need to be exactly right to ensure that the tracks are fossilized and not destroyed over the course of more than 100 million years. It’s like finding a needle in a geological haystack.

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