Speed Reads

Scotland before time

Newly discovered dinosaur prints could reveal secrets of the mysterious Middle Jurassic period

It turns out even dinosaurs like long walks on the beach.

A cluster of dinosaur footprints were found on the shores of Scotland's Isle of Skye, ABC News reported Tuesday, masquerading as tidal pools for 170 million years.

Most of the giant prints came from long-necked sauropods, per National Geographic, which are bigger than what field scientists usually look for. That's why they went unnoticed for so long. There are also three-toed prints from a carnivorous cousin of the T. Rex.

The prints date back to the Middle Jurassic period, making them a rare find. But the Isle of Skye's open, eroded limestone shores make it an ideal place to find fossils from this time period, scientists told ABC News. Hundreds of prints have surfaced on Skye in the past, and field team leader Steve Brusatte said they expect to find more as they keep looking.

The Middle Jurassic period is when the first birds, tyrannosaurs, and sauropods emerged, Brusatte told National Geographic, but there's not much known about it. So these prints could be the first step in unlocking this paleontological mystery.