Dinosaur footprints to begin long tour

Last updated 12:33 27/05/2014

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The dinosaurs are coming.

An exhibition of 70-million-year-old dinosaur footprints found in northwest Golden Bay starts a two-year tour of New Zealand museums next month.

The exhibition opens in Auckland and will make its way to the Nelson Provincial Museum in July next year.

Dinosaur Footprints: A Story of Discovery features four footprints discovered in Late Cretaceous coastal sandstone rocks in Golden Bay.

They are the first dinosaur footprints ever found in New Zealand, and the first evidence of dinosaurs found in the South Island.

They were discovered by GNS Science geologist Dr Greg Browne, who worked through a process of elimination to conclude that the marks were made by dinosaurs.

"While geologists know that dinosaurs were present in ancient New Zealand, the record of their presence is very sketchy," Browne said.

Browne concluded the prints were made by sauropods, a plant-eating dinosaur and the largest animal that ever walked on Earth.

The touring exhibition consists of two triangular display modules with built-in lighting, with the footprints left by dinosaurs a major focal point.

It has two AV presentations and visitors can also touch replicas of the actual footprints. The largest of the replicas is about 30cm across.

The roughly circular footprints have been found at six locations stretching over 10km of northwest Nelson coastline.

Exhibition sponsor New Zealand Oil & Gas is keen to see science promoted in the community.

NZOG liked the fact that a New Zealand geologist discovered the footprints while engaged in geological survey work.

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- The Nelson Mail

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