Australian Dinosaur Footprint Damaged

Vandals have severely damaged a 115-million-year-old dinosaur footprint in an Australian national park.  The park in question is the Bunurong Marine Park in Victoria, the three-toed footprint had been discovered in 2006, but rather than have the rare print removed to a museum, it was decided to leave it in situ allowing all the Park visitors to enjoy it.  Sadly, a person or persons unknown attacked the track with a hammer sometime last week and broke off elements from the toes.

The Dinosaur Footprint that has been Damaged

Vandalised dinosaur footprint.
theropod footprint vandalised in Australia.

Picture credit: Parks Victoria

The picture shows (left) the undamaged footprint and (right) a picture showing that the tips of the toes have been smashed, note the boot for scale.  The Flat Rocks locality near Inverloch (Victoria),  is exceptional in being one of only a handful of polar dinosaur sites in the world, it includes the dinosaur footprint.  Palaeontologists from Museum Victoria and Monash University made a silicon rubber mould of the footprint, when the track was discovered, but they decided it should be left in the rock, so visitors to the site could have the thrill of seeing it in its natural state.

Theropod Dinosaur Footprint

The tridactyl (three-toed print), probably represents a track left by a theropod dinosaur.  Parks Victoria are investigating this incident and have appealed for witnesses.

Parks Victoria Ranger Team Leader Brian Martin stated:

“It is sad to think a person or persons who knew the location of the footprint would deliberately damage an important local icon that is recognised as being off international scientific significance.”

Bunurong Environment Centre Education Officer, Mike Cleeland added:

“The thrill of seeing a real dinosaur footprint has been diminished with the callous act of vandalism.  Fortunately, I was able to retrieve some of the broken pieces of the footprint and hopefully the technicians at Museum Victoria may be able to restore the footprint to some degree.”

The location, known as Dinosaur Dreaming is popular with tourists, the Park officials are hopeful that witnesses to the incident will come forward.  Although repairs to the track can be made, the print will never be the same again.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Sadly, such incidents are all too common.  At this stage it is unclear whether this was a clumsy attempt to remove the print or just simply a case of a deliberate act of vandalism on something that was formed in the Lower Cretaceous, a fossil that has survived for 115 million years only to be smashed in seconds.”

To read an article about an alleged attempt to illegally cast a fossil footprint on the Isle of Skye: Dinosaur Footprints Damaged.

For a story about the stealing of a dinosaur footprint from Utah: Dinosaur Footprint Stolen.

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