A dinosaur footprint discovered by a four-year-old is now on display in Cardiff.
Lily Wilder stunned palaeontologists after finding an “internationally important” dinosaur footprint on a trip to the supermarket back in January.
The four-year-old was walking along the coast between Barry and Sully with her father Richard when she spotted what experts from Archaeology Cymru are calling “the finest impression of a 215 million-year-old dinosaur print found in Britain in a decade”.
The footprint discovered by Lily
(Image: WALES NEWS SERVICE)
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Now the impressive print is proudly on display at National Museum Cardiff.
The exhibition, titled Lily’s Fossil Footprint, is now on display in National Museum Cardiff’s main hall.
Sally Wilder, Lily’s mother, 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.”
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales palaeontology curator Cindy Howells was notified of the find and has described it as the best specimen ever found on this beach. The specimen is a type of footprint called an “Evazoum”, which was made around 220 million years ago by a currently unknown herbivorous dinosaur.
The museum said it is often impossible for scientists to identify the species of the dinosaur, or other reptiles, that made such fossil footprints.
Scientists will now be able to examine the specimen to establish more about the biodiversity and anatomy of dinosaurs and other reptiles in that period in south Wales and how they used to walk.
Karl-James Langford from Archaeology Cymru was asked for his advice on the find by Lily’s family. He said: “As only the fifth person to see it live, I identified the dinosaur footprint, as of international importance, and the best to be discovered in the United Kingdom for 20 years or more. This was very real. It was a much finer print than any I had ever seen, in all my years looking at the rocks on the beach with school parties and adults.”
Special permission had to be sought from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to legally remove Lily’s fossil specimen. Bendricks beach is under private ownership and is legally protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The collection of any rocks, minerals and fossils from this site is not permitted, and can result in large fines.
Pictured here is Lily with baby brother George, mum Sally, and dad Richard at the exhibition
(Image: WALES NEWS SERVICE)
The museum added that fossils are a very special part of Wales’ heritage, but they can easily be damaged if people try to collect them. Although many families enjoy fossil-hunting, the museum stresses that this needs to be carried out responsibly.
Members of the public should only take home a limited number of small, loose fossils from beaches where it is legally permitted to do so.