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Fossilised dinosaur tracks in quarry to be protected

World Cement,

The fossilised tracks of dinosaurs located in a quarry in Oxfordshire, England, are to receive official protection from ‘Natural England’, the UK Government’s independent adviser on the natural environment. It is to be designated a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ - the first site in England to be protected for its geological features alone.

 The tracks, which were discovered in 1997, belong to groups of large, four-footed vegetarian dinosaurs, known as sauropods, and upright-walking carnivorous theropods 165 million years ago. The tracks follow an ancient shoreline that extended from the present-day Norfolk coast, to Oxfordshire and then east through London and north Kent.

 There are up to 40 sets of tracks formed on mudflats that, according to experts, were the size of the Florida Keys and were miles from vegetated land. By observing the distance between footprints, experts believe they can predict how fast the dinosaurs were moving. It is thought that some of the species observed at the site reached speeds of up to 20 mph (32 kph).

 One type of dinosaur found at the site was the Megalosaurus or "great lizard", a type of meat-eating theropod. There is also evidence of the vegetarian Brachiosaurus and the carnivorous Tyrannosaurus.

 The footprints have been covered with a protective layer to prevent exposure to the elements and damage from erosion. The official protection from Natural England will ensure that the rare site will remain for future generations to enjoy. 

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