DINOPAW; British scientist finds first T rex footprint deep in US wilderness.
A BRITISH dinosaur hunter has claimed to be the first to discover a footprint left by a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Until now, barely 50 partial skeletons have been found of the giant flesh-eater.
Dr Phil Manning was searching in a barren part of the US when he came upon the nearly metre-square print - 67 million years old.
Finding a T rex footprint has long been seen as the Holy Grail of dinosaur studies.
Nearly all the discoveries of the animals' fossils have been in rocky Hell Creek, Montana.
Dr Manning said: "People have been trying to find T rex tracks for a hundred years.
"Unless you come across an animal dead in its tracks you can't say for definite what left them.
"But with information available about the numbers of T rex in the rocks of the Hell Creek formation, it is the closest we have to discovering a track.
"It could only be made by one of the two species known from Hell Creek, either the Nanotyrannus or its bigger relative Tyrannosaurus rex. The size of the print at 76cm in length suggests it is more likely to be the latter."
The fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex, 20ft tall, 40ft long and weighing seven tons, was one of the biggest carnivores ever to have lived.
Dr Manning, of the University of Manchester, has travelled the world in search of dinosaur remains and first saw the footprint last year.
He returned to make a detailed study with pictures which will be part of a scientific paper he is hoping to publish shortly.
Dr Manning cannot say officially he has found a T rex print until others have had their chance to study his findings.
He added: "There is no such thing as a truth in science. For us, this is as close as we get to what I think is a fantastic find."
The story of the print features in a half-hour TV documentary tonight.
Inside Out North West is on BBC1 at 7.30pm.
If you live outside the North West you can see it on the Beeb's website at www.bbc.co.uk/insideout.
T.REX WAS HERE: The print in Montana; HUNTERS: T rex and Dr Manning
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Oct 10, 2007|
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