Boy and grandad find dinosaur footprint in Irchester

May 14, 2024 | by

A man and his grandson have uncovered physical evidence of dinosaurs roaming the earth.

Keen fossil hunter Steve was exploring Irchester Country Park, Northants, with three-year-old Cody when they found an unusually shaped rock partially buried.

Experts from London’s Natural History Museum confirmed the find as being a dinosaur footprint cast.

It is thought it belonged to a megalosaurus that stood six metres (20 feet) in length.

Steve said: “These casts formed as a result of a dinosaur making a footprint in soft ground, which then gradually filled in with local sediment.

“It then solidified over eons, eventually leaving a cast of the footprint long after the actual footprint disappeared.

“We left the rock, which was 55cm (22in) in length, where it was after visually examining it to confirm it was a sedimentary rock, an essential requirement if we were to prove that we had found evidence of dinosaurs.”

He said the next step was to research the local geology.

“After all, if the local geology showed that the area was pre-historically covered in a massive ocean, then it would have been impossible for dinosaurs to have walked on the land,” he said.

But studies of maps from the British Geological Survey clearly showed that the spot in Irchester sat right on an ancient shoreline – overlooking a large inlet.

Megalosaurus facts

  • Its name means “giant lizard”

  • It lived in England between 166.1 and 168.3 million years ago

  • It was 20ft (6m) long

  • Charles Dickens imagined meeting a Megalosaurus on the muddy streets of London in the opening lines of Bleak House. They are also mentioned in Conan Doyle’s Lost World

Conservative-controlled North Northamptonshire Council, which runs Irchester Country Park, said it hoped the dinosaur footprint cast would later go on display.

Harriet Pentland, executive member for climate and green environment, thanked Steve for the “unique and major find”.

She said: “Our country parks are extremely popular with residents, but it is a wonderful glimpse into our area’s past to know that 170 million years ago, dinosaurs were roaming the land and that a moment in time could result in a footprint preserved in stone forever.”

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