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Student finds missing dinosaur foot.

Byline: Tyler Mears Reporter tyler.mears@walesonline.co.uk

AN AMATEUR fossilhunter has found the missing foot of the first -ever carnivorous dinosaur found in Wales. Sam Davies, 20, from Bridgend, unearthed the ancient claw while doing field work for his university project on Lavernock Beach, Penarth.

The stunned University of Portsmouth student couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the fossilised foot - the missing part of the full fossil dating back more than 200 million years.

"It was pure luck that I found it," he said.

Testing by his palaeontology tutor Dr David Martill confirmed that the find was a missing piece of the same meat-eating Jurassic dinosaur discovered by brothers Nick and Rob Haniga last year.

Sam spotted the ancient foot underneath a 20cm slab of rock as he strolled along the same beach as the two brothers.

He said: "The dinosaur they found at the beach wasn't even on my mind.

"It was my first day of doing field work for my third year project, and I was just wandering up and down the beach looking for fossils.

"It was just sitting on top of a piece of rock. It was obvious the fossil was fingers or toes, because there were three in a row, but the first thing that came to mind was that it was some sort of plesiosaur."

The dinosaur - which has not yet been named - is a distant cousin of the T-Rex and is thought to be 201 million years old.

The predator would have been about 50cm tall with small teeth for catching insects, lizards and small dinosaurs.

It lived at the start of the Jurassic period when South Wales had a hot climate.

Dr Martill described Sam's discovery as "a chance in a million" and said the find will prove invaluable for researchers.

He said: "This new specimen will help us chart the evolution of dinosaur feet, specifically looking at the number of toes and the nature of the ankle bone."

Sam has donated the fossilised foot to the National Museum in Cardiff - other parts of the skeleton are on display at National Museum Cardiff until August 31.

CAPTION(S):

Sam Davies with the |dinosaur foot fossil

An artist's impression of the dinosaur found in Penarth

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 27, 2015
Words:375
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