The study of dinosaur footprints in Australia has revealed new information about the behavior of theropods, carnivorous dinosaurs that lived during the Jurassic period. The footprints, found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, belonged to large theropods that were around 1.5 meters tall. The footprints indicate that these dinosaurs may have been social animals that traveled in packs, similar to modern-day wolves. The discovery also suggests that these dinosaurs were able to adapt to a variety of environments, as they left footprints in rivers, on sandy beaches, and in muddy swamps.
The study was led by Steve Salisbury, a professor at the University of Queensland, who spent over a decade studying the dinosaur footprints in the Kimberley region. The researchers used drones to capture high-resolution images of the footprints and then created 3D models to analyze them. They found that the theropod footprints were typically found in groups of three to four, with each footprint about 50 cm apart. The footprints suggest that theropods moved similarly to modern-day birds, with a stride length of 1.7 meters.
The discovery of the social behavior and adaptable nature of theropods is significant because it challenges previous assumptions about these dinosaurs. Previously, it was believed that theropods were solitary animals that only hunted alone. However, the discovery of pack behavior suggests that some theropods may have been social animals that hunted in groups. Additionally, the discovery of footprints in a variety of environments suggests that these dinosaurs were able to adapt to changing conditions and may have been more resilient than previously thought. The study also has implications for the conservation of dinosaur footprints, as the researchers emphasize the need for continued protection of these sites to better understand the behavior and evolution of dinosaurs.