Australia

Dinosaur footprints found on Western Australian beach

The dinosaur prints Ms Porth found
Image caption Ms Porth did not believe the prints were real when she first saw them

Dinosaur footprints have been spotted on an Australian beach by a woman who was collecting shells when she chanced upon the giant prints.

Bindi Lee Porth, 37, was at Cable beach, a popular tourist destination in the Western Australian town of Broome.

Broome is known for a 130-million-year-old set of dinosaur footprints which were found along its coastline.

But fossilised footprints like this were not previously known to exist in the main tourist area of Cable beach.

Ms Porth says she did not believe the prints were real when she first saw them.

"I thought no, they couldn't have been real because there'd be signs or some sort of notification to let people know these prints are here," she told ABC Australia.

Image caption A total of six prints were found

Ms Porth had been collecting sea shells and walking around a big pile of rocks when she said she felt an "amazing sense of energy" coming from under her right foot.

Image caption Ms Porth says she now spends "about 80%" of her time at the beach after discovering the prints

"I lifted my foot up and found a bit of an indent in the sand. I got my toes and swished around and it washed away to show a beautiful dinosaur footprint," she told the BBC.

Ms Porth, who has been living in Broome for two years, had previously walked the area more than a hundred times.

She found six prints in total, with the prints believed to come from two different dinosaurs according to palaeontologists, says Ms Porth.

"I've been speaking non-stop to two palaeontologists since I found the prints and they say they're very impressed because they definitely look like dinosaur footprints."

She added that it was an "amazing experience" to stand in the footprint of a creature 130 million years old.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Broome's beaches are a popular tourist attraction

Not a new discovery

However, the footprints are not a new find and were acknowledged by indigenous Australians centuries earlier, according to palaeontologist Steve Salisbury from the University of Queensland.

Image copyright ABC Kimberley
Image caption Dr Steve Salisbury says the newly discovered footprints may be caused by more than one kind of dinosaur

"This is not a new discovery, they've just been buried in the sand for about 38 years," he told the BBC.

"The indigenous community knew they were there for thousands of years but it's great Bindi noticed they had re-emerged because we weren't aware they could be seen again. The coast is a very dynamic environment. If you spend any time in that area you will see the beaches change dramatically."

Dr Salisbury will be one of many palaeontologists making their way to Broome over the next few weeks to view the prints first hand.

But until then, Ms Porth is making sure they are well guarded.

"I haven't left the beach practically since I found them," she said. "I feel like they're my babies and I want to protect them."

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