South Island Sauropods
Proof that dinosaurs did roam the South Island 70 million years ago has been found with the discovery of 20 footprints across a 10km stretch in northwest Nelson. The footprints were found by geologist Dr Greg Browne in the remote Whanganui Inlet, and though he made the discovery a decade ago, it wasn’t made public until now. Browne said the dinosaur link only emerged after several years of study. “The structures show evidence that they were formed by something large and heavy that depressed the sand downward because of the load,” he said. The round markings, up to 60cm across, would have been made in beach sand and preserved by “wet sticky mud” washed in by the tide. Browne believes the footprints belonged to sauropods plant-eating dinosaurs which were among the largest animals to have lived, growing up to six metres in length and weighing several tones. The latest find will be published in the New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics in December.