Four-year-old girl discovers dinosaur footprint on beach near Barry

A four-year-old girl has discovered a dinosaur footprint, preserved in rock on a beach near Barry, south Wales.

The 220-million-year-old print was found by Lilly Walker and her family when they were out on a walk in their local area.

Lily was the first to spot the footprint on a loose block near the sea at Bendricks Bay, which is a well-known beach for its dinosaur footprints.

The print has been described by the National Museum of Wales' Palaeontology curator as "the best specimen ever found on this beach".

The fossil has been extracted from the rock and has been taken to National Museum Cardiff where it can be studied and preserved.

Credit: Sally Wilder

Richard Wilder, Lily's father said: "She just said, look daddy, there it is! And that was it. I took a photo of it, came home and it all went from there."

The following day the family returned to the beach with archeologists for the print to be analysed.

It measures over 10cm long and is believed to have been made by a dinosaur that stood about 75cm tall and 2.5m long. Experts say it might have been a slender animal which walked on its two hind feet and actively hunted other small animals and insects.

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.

Credit: Cindy Howells

Cindy Howells said: "It's amazingly rare, we can see the detail of where the joints of the animal are in its foot, where the little muscles are, so we can tell the structure of the foot itself.

It'll allow us to match up this sort of foot with the skeletons that we find in other places of dinosaur feet."

Permission had to be sought from Natural Resources Wales to legally remove the fossil from the beach, which is a site of Special Scientific Interest.

It was removed earlier this week and will now be studied by experts at the National Museum in Cardiff.