Ancient footprints have provided compelling evidence that some dinosaurs were able to swim, scientists report.The 15m trackway that reveals one animal's underwater odyssey was discovered in the Cameros Basin in Spain, once a vast lake.The S-shaped prints suggest the beast clawed at sediment on the lake floor as it swam in about 3m (10ft) of water.The marks are about 125 million years old, dating to the Early Cretaceous, the team writes in the journal Geology.
One of the most exciting dinosaur finds to date comes from Scotland. In the Isle of Skye, Paul Booth and Dugald Ross, found a set of fossilised footprints. Inside one of the footprints was another tiny fossil footprint that has turned out to be one of the most exciting finds in Scotland.
Dinosaur traces were not found in Scotland until recently. The first bone, from an adult Diplodocus-like dinosaur, was found in 1982. Since then progress has been steady, but slow, with the odd bone or fossil turning up regularly. The richest seam for dinosaur bones and fossils is on the Isle of Skye, where most of the bones have been found. Around the famous Kilt rocks are middle Jurassic period stone (approximately 165 million years old) which sometimes break off to reveal bones from that period. So far amateur fossil-hunters have turned up a bone from a Ceratosauria (similar to the more well-known Coelophysis, a meat-eating bird-like dinosaur) and bones from a Stegosaurus-type beast.
During the Middle Jurassic, the Isle of Skye looked more like what the Camargue region of southern France is today. Dinosaur walked in family groups along the shores of large lagoons, leaving behind their footprints in the soft, wet sand. Meat eating dinosaurs prowled in search of their prey, teaching their young the skills they would need as they grew older. A baby dinosaur, just hatched, would follow in the footsteps of its parent, perhaps only a short distance from the nest.
"The problem with Skye is that the Jurassic rocks are topped by about 20-30 metre thick volcanic rocks, which is very hard. So you can't get at the remains. You have to wait for the fossil to fall out of the cliffs" - Dr Neil Clark, Curator of Palaeontology at Glasgows Universitys Hunterian Museum.
"This could be the first evidence of parental care of the Therapod dinosaur" - Dr Neil Clark.
The Universitys Hunterian Museum now holds the worlds smallest dinosaur footprints in its collections. The footprint appears to belong to a young dinosaur similar to Coelophysis, and is imprinted onto the footprint of an adult dinosaur of the same kind. The chance discovery was only made when Dr Clark returned from Skye , where he was researching other dinosaur footprints with the curator of the Staffin Museum, Dugald Ross, and fellow researcher Paul Booth of Pitlochry.