Skye – Jurassic dinosaur footprints, An Corran

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Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology: Trotternish, Skye

In 2002, a dinosaur footprint was recovered by Cathie Booth from the Glen View Inn, Culnacnoc, in a loose block of carbonaceous and bioturbated sandstone from the slipway at An Corran, Staffin Bay, Isle of Skye. This track (24cm long) is a smaller version of the footprint from the Lealt Shale Formation first described by Andrews and Hudson (1984) and was probably made by a small ornithopod dinosaur.

View of An Corran beach July 2002. © Neil Clark, Hunterian Museum.

Paul Booth of the Glen View Inn, Dougal Ross of the Staffin Museum and Dr Neil Clark of the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, all scoured the nearby exposure looking for further footprints similar to the first An Corran footprint. After a few visits to the locality over 15 tracks of a much larger size (32-53cm long) and different morphology were found still in situ.

These footprints, from the Duntulum Formation, are the youngest dinosaur remains from Scotland being uppermost Bathonian in age, around 160 million years old.

The footprints themselves are the largest footprints yet found in Scotland, some being over 50cm in length. The toe imprints are quite narrow compared to the footprint from the Lealt Shale Formation, and the splay of the second to fourth digit is a lot smaller at about 52° compared with 82°. All this suggests that the animal that made the footprints at An Corran, Staffin, Isle of Skye was a large predatory dinosaur similar to Megalosaurus.

Dinosaur footprints – on the beach at An Corran, Isle of Skye. © Neil Clark, Hunterian Museum.