Friday, January 22, 2010

Dinosaur footprints in quarry to be preserved

Dinosaur Footprints shaped 165 million years ago on an ancient shoreline in north Oxfordshire are to be given special protection by the Government’s conservation experts, Natural England.

The fossilized tracks of dinosaurs together with the Brachiosaurus, a vegetarian, and the carnivorous Tyrannosaurus are in a working quarry at Ardley, near Bicester, close to the M40. It is to be designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest — the first to be sheltered for its geological features alone.

The Fossils originate in the rocks include a variety of sea urchins, clams, molluscs, lamp shells, snails, horseshoe worms, corals and very rare ammonites and nautiloids.

“Geological sites of this quality and significance are few and far between and we are delighted to give this important window on our past the protection that it so clearly deserves.” said Helen Phillips, the chief executive of Natural Englan.

The site is to be protected from exposure to the elements and damage from erosion. Experts will work with the site owners to ensure that the track ways are preserved to permit scientific study.

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