A group of paleontologists studying a region called "Australia's Jurassic Park" have uncovered dinosaur tracks from almost two dozen different dinosaur species, including some of the largest dinosaur footprints ever discovered.
Salisbury said "Most of Australia's dinosaur fossils come from the eastern side of the continent, and are between 115 and 90 million years old". It also provides a strong record of the early Cretaceous period on the continent, as the fossils there are older than anywhere else in Australia.
In 2008, Walmadany was selected as the preferred site for a natural gas plant.
Salisbury said that Walmadany is home to thousands of dinosaur tracks still left to be discovered. Of these, 150 can confidently be assigned to 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs.
"There were five different types of predatory dinosaur tracks, at least six types of tracks from long-necked herbivorous sauropods, four types of tracks from two-legged herbivorous ornithopods, and six types of tracks from armored dinosaurs".
The dinosaur tracks were found in rocks dated between 127 and 140 million years old. Interestingly, the footprints of that size were initially overlooked because they were beyond the search range for a dinosaur track.
They were discovered along a 15-mile stretch on the coast of a knob of land in Western Australia called the Dampier Peninsula, on the Indian Ocean.
Calling the area a "magical place", and Australia's very own Jurassic Park, the findings included the only confirmed evidence for stegosaurs in the country.
Lead researcher Steve Salisbury called the coastline the "Cretaceous equivalent of the Serengeti". They used photogrammetry to create models of the fossils, and took silicone casts of numerous prints, so they could be displayed in museums.
The University of Queensland researchers were brought in more than five years ago by the aboriginal Goolarabooloo community, who are the traditional custodians of the area and have known about the tracks for many years.
'We needed the world to see what was at stake, ' Goolarabooloo official Phillip Roe said.
The area was designated a National Heritage site in 2011, and two years later it was announced that the gas production project wouldn't happen.