Four-year-old girl finds dinosaur footprint on south Wales beach

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3 min read
Lily Wilder and her family made the discovery while out on a walk on Bendricks Bay in January, according to a statement from the National Museum Wales.
Lily Wilder and her family made the discovery while out on a walk on Bendricks Bay in January, according to a statement from the National Museum Wales.

A four-year-old girl has found a dinosaur footprint on a beach near Barry in south Wales.

Lily Wilder and her family made the discovery while out on a walk on Bendricks Bay in January, according to a statement from the National Museum Wales.

Experts have since determined that the footprint was made 220 million years ago and has been preserved in desert muds.

Lily's family said she was the first to spot the footprint on a loose block on the beach which is well-known for its dinosaur footprints.

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Sally Wilder, Lily’s mother, said, “It was Lily and Richard (her father) who discovered the footprint. Lily saw it as when they were walking along and said “Daddy look”.

“When Richard came home and showed me the photograph, I thought it looked amazing. Richard thought it was too good to be true. I was put in touch with experts who took it from there."

National Museum of Wales Palaeontology curator Cindy Howells said it was the best specimen ever found on the beach.

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The museum’s statement said the footprint, which is just over 10cm long, was a type of specimen called a Grallator.

It added that the print is likely to have been made by a dinosaur that stood about 75cm tall and 2.5m long but it’s impossible to identify exactly which dinosaur made the print.

Many of the other footprints found at Bendricks Bay in the past have most likely not been from dinosaurs, but rather from some of the more crocodilian-type reptiles that also inhabited the area, the museum said.

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The fossil was extracted earlier this week and will be taken to National Museum Cardiff where it will be protected for future generations to enjoy and scientists to study, the statement added.

Sally said: “We were thrilled to find out it really was a dinosaur footprint and I am happy that it will be taken to the national museum where we can be enjoyed and studied for generations.”

Cindy Howells, Palaeontology Curator, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said “This fossilised dinosaur footprint from 220 million years ago is one of the best-preserved examples from anywhere in the UK and will really aid palaeontologists to get a better idea about how these early dinosaurs walked.

“Its acquisition by the museum is mainly thanks to Lily and her family who first spotted it.

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“During the Covid pandemic scientists from Amgueddfa Cymru have been highlighting the importance of nature on people’s doorstep and this is a perfect example of this. Obviously, we don’t all have dinosaur footprints on our doorstep but there is a wealth of nature local to you if you take the time to really look close enough.”

Ben Evans from British Institute for Geological Conservation said: “Working together with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales has allowed this amazing specimen to be safely recovered and re-homed alongside other specimens from this site.

“This beach is a site of special scientific interest and while we encourage people to visit and use it responsibly, collection of rocks, minerals and fossils from this site is not permitted. The BIGC, Amgueddfa Cymru or Natural Resources Wales should be contacted in the event of a new discovery.”

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