Dinosaur tracks to be given protection

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Dinosaur tracks in Oxfordshire have become the first feature in Britain to be given special protection for its geological features alone.

The trackways, formed 165 million years ago by a herd of Jurassic dinosaurs moving along part of an ancient shoreline, is the first SSSI to be designated purely because of its geological interest.

The site, which includes footprints from large, vegetarian dinosaurs related to Brontosaurus and also from carnivorous dinosaurs similar to Tyrannosaurus, is just alongside the M40 motorway and requires protection from development.

The trackways, that are otherwise unknown in England and are very rare internationally, also need protection from the elements by building shelters and ensuring visitors do not disturb the site.

Dr Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, said scientists will be working with the owners of the site to ensure the geological remains are preserved.
“Geological sites of this quality and importance are few and far between and we are delighted to give this important window on our past the protection that it so clearly deserves," she said.

“As a Site of Special Scientific Interest, these unique dinosaur footprints now join the ranks of England’s most important wildlife and geological conservation sites. It is important that we continue to look after internationally valuable resources of this type and protect such fascinating insights into our ancient past”.

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