Vandals use Hammer to Smash 115-Million-year-old Dinosaur Footprint at Australian National Park

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Vandals use Hammer to Smash 115-Million-year-old Dinosaur Footprint at Australian National Park

Vandals used a hammer to smash a 115-million-year-old three-toed dinosaur footprint in a national park in Australia. Park rangers at the Bunurong Marine Park discovered the damage to the theropod footprint while taking a school group on a tour.

The one-foot wide print was found in 2006 and deliberately left in place to allow visitors to see it in its natural state in one of the world’s few ice-age dinosaur sites.

“It is so disappointing,” Parks Victoria ranger Brian Martin told ABC News.

“It’s a popular, significant site. The rock there is reasonably hard so it looks like it’s been hit with a hammer and pieces of the rock around the edge of the footprint have been broken away.”

The identity of the culprits and the possible motive remain unknown, but it appears the vandals were familiar with the footprint.

“For someone to damage it intentionally, you’d have to have a rough idea of where it is because seaweed grows on the rock platform and it looks like a normal rock until you look closely and see the outline of the footprint,” Mr Martin said.

The footprint before it was smashed CREDIT: AFP

Broken fragments of the print were found on the surrounding rock platform in which it is embedded.

Palaeontologists made a silicon rubber mould of the print after it was discovered. It is hoped that technicians will be able to restore the print.

The national park, east of Melbourne,  was once roamed by at least six different types of carnivorous dinosaurs.

Vandals took a hammer to the ancient dinosaur footprint in Australia, with officials slamming the “sad and callous” act CREDIT: AFP

Thousands of bones and teeth of small dinosaurs and ancient mammals, birds and fish have been discovered since the first items were found there in 1991.

Authorities have appealed to the public for any information about the vandals.