Palaeontologists to take closer look at dinosaur footprints

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TWO leading palaeontologists will be flown in from North America to examine the dinosaur footprints found at the site of the proposed Browse Basin gas hub near Broome. 

Dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point near Broome in WA, which are exposed at low tide [Credit: PerthNow]

The ancient footprints run along part of the Dampier Peninsula and have been found on the tidal flats at James Price Point, the location earmarked for Woodside’s $30 billion natural gas project. 

The area is now heritage listed, but the new status may not halt development.  

Dr Martin Lockley, a geology professor from the University of Colorado in Denver, and Richard McCrea, a curator at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre in Canada, will travel to the Kimberley to study the dinosaur footprints and provide more information on their importance. 

Department of State Development deputy director Nicky Cusworth said the palaeontologists both had expertise in dinosaur footprints and track-ways.  

“We hope the new survey improves our understanding of the dinosaur footprint issues and the best approach to managing, and minimising, the impact of the precinct on valuable fossil records,” Ms Cusworth said. 

“The study has been organised in response to issues raised in the public comment period for the Strategic Assessment Review, and a request from the Environmental Protection Authority for more information.” 

The palaeontologists will survey the coastal sandstone platform about two kilometres south of James Price Point later this month, as well as James Price Point and other locations on the Dampier Peninsula. 

Their report will be peer-reviewed and published. 

The Kimberley Land Council has been invited to provide traditional owner representatives, an archaeologist and an anthropologist to help with the project and advise on cultural aspects. 

Source: news com au [September 15, 2011]

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