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GPS System Pinpoints Middle Jurassic Dinosaur Footprints on Isle of Skye


March 02, 2006, Press Dispensary. A hand-held GPS unit from (, a specialist retail website for GPS technology, helped Dr Neil Clark of Glasgow University make a significant scientific discovery. Dr Clark used his GPS device to plot footprints from a family group of carnivorous dinosaurs he found on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Dinosaur track-ways and footprints are frequently found in places that are hard to pinpoint on a map. Dr Neil Clark was able to pinpoint the exact location of the dinosaur remains - located along the shoreline of an ancient lake in the Isle of Skye - using his Magellan SporTrak GPS system.

Dr Clark's GPS system easily located the footprints of what appeared to be a family group of carnivorous dinosaurs. His quest also unveiled a footprint of just 1.8cm in length: amongst the worlds' smallest ever footprint recorded and a significant finding which has led to further research at Skye.

Dr Neil Clark comments: 'A dinosaur with a foot length of 1.8cm would have measured no more than 20cm in height. It has been brought to the attention of scientists that this particular species of dinosaur could leave its nest at a much earlier age than previously suspected. Before this discovery, it was thought that predatory dinosaurs were left to fend for themselves upon leaving their nests. However, since smaller footprints were found inside larger ones, this discovery has prompted further investigation as well as opening the previous theory for debate.'

Middle Jurassic dinosaur footprints are rare in Scotland, and every attempt to record them must be made. Found on a beach, the Isle of Skye footprints were extremely weathered. Before tidal erosion destroyed them, it was important to obtain a permanent record so further research could be conducted.

Dr Neil Clark says: 'Thanks to my Magellan SporTrak GPS, which I bought from, it was easy to locate the position of the dinosaur footprints with great accuracy. Connecting the Magellan SporTrak GPS to my laptop meant I could produce a map of the beach showing each discovery and record it permanently.'

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