Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The giant dinosaur fossil is on the move

DINOSAUR paw marks from Ardley Quarry close to Bicester have been moved to a new address at the Oxfordshire Museum as division of a £127,000 project. The fossilized prints, found by workmen in 1997, were made 170 million years ago by a cruel meat-eating megalosaurus, a smaller cousin of the powerful tyrannosaurus rex.

The odd prints are mainly important for scientists since they show the beast breaking into a run, probably to pursue one of the vegetarian cetiosaurs whose tracks were found close by. The prints had been cut from Ardley Quarry in 2004 and stored to protect them from the elements, however were moved to the museum in Woodstock in a thorough operation last Tuesday, June 25. It's startling that footprints in the mud should last so long and that we can study so much from them. What's particular about these prints is that they show the carnivorous megalosaurus next to the cetiosaurs.

The prints are because of going on public display in the autumn, housed in a walled garden stocked with ancient varieties of plant for example the ginkgo biloba. The prints will be observed over by a life-size replica of a megalosaurus, and a new DVD documenting the story of the footprints will be sent to neighboring schools.

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