Engineers Accidentally Discover 125,000,000-Year-Old Dinosaur Fossils

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John Oyewale Contributor
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Engineers working Monday in southern Britain to shore up sea defenses in preparation for stormy weather stumbled upon large prehistoric dinosaur footprints dating back 125 million years, authorities said.

The engineers were excavating Yaverland Beach on the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England when they came upon the fossils, a UK government press release noted.

The footprints possibly belonged to a mantellisaurus, a three-toed, nearly 23-foot-long dinosaur that could weigh over 1,600 pounds. It walked about, ostrich-like, on its hindlegs in its day, marching slowly but “with huge strides that have clearly left their mark on time,” the press release explained.

Staffers from the local Dinosaur Isle Museum reportedly witnessed the find, per the release, which noted that the Isle of Wight was a “perfect habitat for dinosaurs” and that an assortment of other fossils have been found there. The Dinosaur Isle Museum itself boasts over 1,000 fossils, according to the release. (RELATED: Drought Reveals 113-Million-Year-Old Discovery)

“The Isle of Wight is the richest dinosaur location in Europe, but this is still a wonderful find. We have located 35 different types, and the area was once also heavy with plants, crocodiles, pterosaurs, amphibians, fish and invertebrates like insects and freshwater mussels,” said Dr. Martin Munt, curator of the Dinosaur Isle Museum, per the press release.

“This represents a hugely important and significant discovery for the project, as finding the new footprints makes it clear that the land on which the dinosaurs walked is likely to stretch the whole length of Yaverland beach,” said Stuart Noon, heritage lead for JBA Consulting, the environmental engineering firm where the engineers worked, according to the release.

An at least 80 percent complete skeleton of a mantellisaurus, which is on display at the UK’s Natural History Museum, was discovered on the Isle of Wight in 1917, the release noted.