Isle of Skye becomes haven for dinosaur hunters

The beach at Staffin, where dinosaurs once roamed. Picture: Wiki Commons
The beach at Staffin, where dinosaurs once roamed. Picture: Wiki Commons
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A Scottish island has become the world centre for dinosaur hunters.

Expert Steve Brusatte says Skye is a real life Jurassic Park – and dino detectives are rushing to the remote isle in the hope discovering previously unknown prehistoric creatures.

One of the dinosaur prints on Staffin beach. Picture: Contributed

One of the dinosaur prints on Staffin beach. Picture: Contributed

“Skye is the only place in Scotland that you’ll find dinosaurs,” said Steve, 31, a paleontologist from the University of Edinburgh.

“They are from the middle part of the Jurassic period – about 170 million years ago.

“What’s so exciting about them is not just that they are Scottish dinosaurs but that there are very few dinosaurs anywhere in the world from that time.

“It’s a really dark period for understanding dinosaurs so Scotland has something cool to offer. It’s a unique window into this mysterious era.”

“What’s so exciting about them is not just that they are Scottish dinosaurs but that there are very few dinosaurs anywhere in the world from that time”

Steve Brusatte

Although there aren’t enough complete skeletons to put names to them yet, recent digs by Mr Brusatte and his team have found three main types.

Some were long-necked species, others were heavyweight with armoured plates on their back, while the final type are described as “early cousins of T-Rex” – deadly six metre-long predators.

Scotland at the time was part of a huge island, partly covered by oceans with lagoons and river deltas in between.

Rocks formed have been perfectly preserved with fossils of the various creatures that roamed the land, with dinosaur footprints being found on Staffin beach.

The most recent of several scientific expeditions was in April and a scientific paper will be published this autumn.

“We have found what we think are new dinosaurs,” said US-born Mr Brusatte.

“We’ll have to wait until it’s all official when the paper comes out, but the findings are really exciting.

“We believe that what we found on our last trip could be some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made in this country.”