More than 120 million years ago, a menagerie of dinosaurs small and large stomped their way across what’s now northwestern Australia.
That ancient ecosystem left remnants scrawled on tidal flats and swampy stretches of mud, which in time turned to stone. The coastlines of northwestern Australia’s Dampier Peninsula now bear thousands of dinosaur tracks. One 16-mile stretch of the coast, including a site called Walmadany, carries the tracks of 21 different types of dinosaur—making it the most diverse tract of dinosaur footprints on Earth. Among them are the biggest dinosaur tracks ever studied in detail.
"It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half of the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia's dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period," University of Queensland paleontologist Steven Salisbury said in a statement. "It's such a magical place—Australia's own Jurassic Park, in a spectacular wilderness setting."
Walmadany’s footprints are etched into what’s known as the Broome Sandstone, a rock formation between 127 and 140 million years old that makes up part of the Dampier Peninsula. Sailsbury says that the tracks include the only confirmed evidence of Australian stegosaurs, as well as some of the largest dinosaur tracks ever recorded: footprints of a long-necked sauropod that are nearly six feet long each.