A giant dinosaur footprint discovered on the Yorkshire coastline is the largest ever found in the area.
The footprint is nearly a meter long and was left by a carnivorous theropod from the Jurassic period.
The gigantic creature may have been crouching or resting when it left the mark about 166 million years ago, according to a study by the University of Manchester.
The record-breaking discovery was made in April 2021 by local archaeologist Marie Woods.
Ms Woods, now a co-author of the study, said: “I couldn’t believe what I was looking at, I had to think about it.
“I’ve seen some smaller footprints when I’ve been out with friends, but nothing like this. I can’t say ‘archaeologists don’t do dinosaurs’ anymore.”
After making the discovery in Burniston Bay, a favorite of professional paleontologists, Ms Woods got in touch with other experts to help recover the footprints.
Apparently, it was actually discovered five months ago by local fossil hunter and co-author of the new study, Rob Taylor, published in the Journal of the Geological Society of Yorkshire.
But the print was not fully exposed at the time, so its importance was not fully appreciated.
The footprint was described by another co-author, Dr Dean Lomax, as “a fantastic discovery”.
“The characteristics of the footprint may even indicate that this large predator crouched before standing up,” he said.
Ms Woods and Mr Taylor donated the specimen to the Scarborough Museum and Gallery.
Lead researcher and local geologist John Hudson said: “This important discovery provides further evidence that carnivorous giants roamed the region during the Jurassic period.
“The type of footprint, combined with its age, suggests that it was left by a ferocious Megalosaurid dinosaur, which may have been between two and a half and three meters high at the hip.”
Once conservation work is complete, the footprints will be on display at the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough.