In soft sandstone on a New Zealand beach lie a series of very heavy footprints — the first evidence of dinosaur activity on the island.
The prints were probably made by large, plant-eating sauropods between 6 and 18 feet long, creatures that would have weighed several tons. The discovery was made by geologist Dr Greg Browne a decade ago. Browne made public his find only when he was certain of the dinosaur link, work that required several years of study.
The round markings, up to 2 feet across and 70 million years old, would have been made in beach sand and preserved by "wet sticky mud" washed in by the tide, though the exact site remains undisclosed to preserve the integrity of the find.
In an interview with The New Zealand Herald, Browne describes his suprise at finding footprints in such an unusual location. "What makes this discovery special is the unique preservation of the footprints in an environment where they could easily have been destroyed by waves, tides or wind."
Paleontologist Dr Hamish Campbell from New Zealand research organization GNS Science said scientists have yet to decide the best way to protect the prints.
"These are great features from a scientific point of view and because they relate to dinosaurs the public will be incredibly interested, he pointd out. "Somehow we've got to balance the interest of the public with privacy and conservation. Maybe one day there'll be a dinosaur park or reserve where people can see them," he said.- - - -
Jurassic Park IV
I heard a rumour at my wedding that this is in development and that filming was actually going on. I hardly believe it, especially after I heard that the franchise was likely to be laid rest after the death of the franchise's creator, Michael Crichton, who passed away almost a year ago.
However, the sequel has reared its monstrous head once again at Blockbuster Buzz - where they continue to perpetuate the "dinosaurs crafted into military weapons just like in Dino-Riders" rumour.
The director, Joe Jonston, has now been quoted saying:
"Why would anybody go back to that island? It was hard enough to figure out the second and third reason for them to go, but it would take it off in a whole other trilogy basically, but when it gets to that level it's sort of about studios and Steven [Spielberg's] thing and who knows. I think we are at that point where we are due for another one if we are going to do it"- - -