4-year-old girl discovers 220 million-year-old dinosaur footprint

February 2, 2021

A 4-year-old girl made a rare discovery during a recent beach visit.

While most people typically find seashells when walking along the shore, Lily Wilder from Bendricks Bay near Barry in south Wales spotted a footprint in a loose block near the Ocean.

And it wasn’t just any footprint! In a press release, Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales said it belonged to a dinosaur that was alive roughly 220 million years ago.

"It was Lily and [her dad] Richard who discovered the footprint," her mom, Sally Wilder, said in a statement, per PEOPLE.

"Lily saw it as 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.”

The footprint, known as a grallator, is about 5 inches long and is believed to have been made by a “slender animal that walked on its two hin feet.”

While paleontologists cannot pinpoint the exact type of dinosaur that left it as no fossilized bones were found in the area, they believe it stood about 2 ½ feet tall and 8 feet long. Similar footprints have reportedly been found in the United States from a Coelophysis.

The beach is known for dinosaur footprints, however, this specific one is said to be  "the best specimen ever found on this beach," according to Cindy Howells, the museum's paleontology curator.

She said the finding provides a useful “clue” as scientists have “not even found a fraction of the total species of dinosaurs yet.”

Sally said Lily is "really excited but doesn't quite grasp how amazing it is,” per NBC News. Her grandmother reportedly encouraged them to inform local experts for further investigation of the print.

The footprint has been legally removed from the beach with the permission of Natural Resource Wales. It will be protected and studied at the National Museum Cardiff.

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