Making Tracks
Making Tracks; or the Great Lunch 'Break'


Visiting the Isle of Skye in Winter is an experience. Some say it is the best time of year. Certainly, anytime I have been there in the Winter, it has always been sunnier than the rest of the UK. If you hit bad weather though, it is really bad!

A friend from the US was visiting me and I decided that a good place to visit was where dinosaurs had been found in Scotland. I took her to where one track had been found previously (in 1982) to show her some pseudo-tracks. On a newly fallen boulder I spotted some real tracks which turned out to be Scotland's first trackway and the first theropod tracks.

Later that month, I returned to collect the tracks with the permission of the Scottish Office (S.O.A.F.E.D.) who own the mineral rights. With the help of Chris Mitchell an Jan Wolfe of the Oyster Catcher Restaurant we prepared the rock for extraction. It took us four days to make a crack in the rock using pneumatic drills, rock saws, and sledgehammers. The tracks are similar to the Triassic/Lower Jurassic trackways of Connecticut and are called Grallator and Eubrontes tracks . The Scottish find is in rocks of Middle Jurassic.

When added to other evidence from the same horizon, it becomes very interesting. The tail bone I found previously is identical to the tail bone of _Coelophysis_ which is from the Triassic of New Mexico.

It looks as though what is happening in the US during the Late Triassic/Lower Jurassic is happening in Scotland in the Middle Jurassic! I hope that further research will help us understand these links better.

While collecting the track, as reported in The Times, I broke my leg rather badly and will be off work for at least six months recovering. Thanks to Chris, Jan, Paul and Euan, the emergency services on the Island, the coastguard, and the staff of the Specials Ward at the hospital in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, I should make a full recovery. It was my first helicopter ride. That, with the entinox, made it quite a trip!


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please email me at: nclark@museum.gla.ac.uk