Articles published by scientists provide more detailed information about the amazing diversity of prints and trackways on the Dinosaur Coast and the research methods used to study this unique heritage.
BOAT HARBOUR REPORT RELEASED
Dinosaur tracks and Related Geological Features of the Reddell Point–Entrance Point Area, Broome, Western Australia. Palaeontological survey as part of the 2018 Broome Safe Boat Harbour Site Assessment Process. Authors Steven W. Salisbury & Anthony Romilio. Released on 22 February 2019 by the Shire of Broome.
Dinosaur tracks and Related Geological Features of the Reddell Point–Entrance Area, Broome, Western Australia. Palaeontological survey as part of the 2018 Broome Safe Boat Harbour Site Assessment Process, Steven W. Salisbury & Anthony Romilio, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, 2018
In 2017/2018, funding through the Royalties for Regions scheme was allocated to the Western Australian Department of Transport (DoT) to undertake planning and investigations for a safe boat harbour (SBH) facility in Broome. The Broome Boat Harbour Advisory Group, chaired by the Shire of Broome (SoB), selected the coastline between Entrance Point and Reddell Point (Reddell Point Beach) as the preferred site for this development.
As at July 2018, the preliminary concept for the proposed SBH facility for Reddell Point Beach included protective breakwaters, a harbour that provides a turning circle for vessels, a boat ramp, a wharf and hardstand, and trailer parking. The proposed entrance to the harbour was to be from the south-eastern end of the facility.
At the request of SoB and DoT, The University of Queensland was engaged to assess the potential impact of the proposed SBH facility concept at Reddell Point Beach on any National Heritage-listed dinosaurian tracks in the Broome Sandstone of this area.
There are extensive exposures – approximately 1.2k 2 – of Broome Sandstone throughout the intertidal zone in the survey area and over 140 National Heritage-listed dinosaurian track-bearing surfaces were recorded. Three different types of dinosaurian tracks were recorded: sauropod tracks, theropod tracks and ornithopod tracks.
The report found the Reddell Point–Entrance Point area preserves the most southerly dinosaurian track-bearing surfaces in the Broome Sandstone within the West Kimberley. If the SBH were to proceed as proposed, “All the Broome Sandstone and its associated dinosaurian track-bearing surfaces within the greater footprint of the SBH would either be destroyed, permanently buried or subject to increased risk of erosion. As such, the National Heritage values associated with this area would be lost.”
The report advises that the only way any significant impacts on National Heritage values could be avoided is if the direct footprint of the facility were to be greatly reduced. A more desirable alternative would be to shift the location of the SBH to an area where there are fewer or no National Heritage listed dinosaurian tracks, thereby avoiding any significant impacts on National Heritage values.
At the Shire of Broome Ordinary Meeting of Council 28 February 2019 under Item 9.3.1 ‘Update on Broome Safe Boat Harbour and Community Engagement Plan Resolved’ Council resolved to “Endorse the direction to move away from Reddell Beach Concept based on the findings of the Dinosaur Trackways Field Studies Report”.
In March 2017 scientists from the University of Queensland and collaborating researchers published two articles about the Dinosaur Coast. Click on the title to download the article.
Published on 25.3.17 as the 2016 Memoir Of The Society Of Vertebrate Paleontology titled The dinosaurian ichnofauna of the Lower Cretaceous (Valanginian–Barremian) Broome Sandstone of the Walmadany area (James Price Point), Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia. Authors Salisbury, S.W., Romilio, A., Herne, M.C., Tucker, R.T. and Nair, J.P.
An unprecedented 21 different types of dinosaur tracks have been identified on the 25 km stretch of coast around Walmadany (James Price Point) on the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia – the most diverse assemblage of dinosaur tracks in the world in 127 to 140 million-year-old rocks in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.
The findings are extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia’s dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period. Most of Australia’s dinosaur fossils come from the eastern side of the continent, and are between 115 and 90 million years old. The tracks in the Broome Sandstone are considerably older.
The dinosaur tracks form part of a song cycle that extends along the coast and then inland for 450 km, tracing the journey of a Dreamtime creator being called Marala, the Emu man.
There are thousands of tracks around Walmadany. Of these, 150 can confidently be assigned to 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs – 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 armoured dinosaurs.
Among the tracks is the only confirmed evidence for stegosaurs in Australia. There are also some of the largest dinosaur tracks ever recorded. Some of the sauropod tracks are around 1.7 m long.
Published on 21.3.2017 by Anthony Romilio, Jorg M. Hacker, Robert Zlot, George Poropat, Michael Bosse and Steven W. Salisbury. A multidisciplinary approach to digital mapping of dinosaurian tracksites in the Lower Cretaceous(Valanginian-Barremian) Broome Sandstone of the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia” .
Abstract: The abundant dinosaurian tracksites of the Lower Cretaceous (Valanginian-Barremian) Broome Sandstone of the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia, form an important part of the West Kimberley National Heritage Place. Previous attempts to document these tracksites using traditional mapping techniques (e.g., surface overlays,transects and gridlines combined with conventional photography) have been hindered by the non-trivial challenges associated with working in this area, including, but not limited to: (1) the remoteness of many of the tracksites; (2) the occurrence of the majority of the tracksites in the intertidal zone; (3) the size and complexity of many of the tracksites, with some extending over several square kilometres. Using the historically significant and well-known dinosaurian tracksites at Minyirr (Gantheaume Point), we show how these issues can be overcome through the use of an integrated array of remote sensing tools. A combination of high-resolution aerial photography with both manned and unmanned aircraft, airborne and handheld high-resolution lidar imaging and handheld photography enabled the collection of large amounts of digital data from which 3D models of the tracksites at varying resolutions were constructed. The acquired data encompasses a very broad scale, from the sub-millimetre level that details individual tracks, to the multiple-kilometre level, which encompasses discontinuous tracksite exposures and large swathes of coastline. The former are useful for detailed ichnological work, while the latter are being employed to better understand the stratigraphic and temporal relationship between tracksites in a broader geological and palaeoecological context. These approaches and the data they can generate now provide a means through which digital conservation and temporal monitoring of the Dampier Peninsula’s dinosaurian tracksites can occur. As plans for the on-going management of the tracks in this area progress, analysis of the 3D data and 3D visualization will also likely provide an important means through which the broader public can experience these spectacular National Heritage listed landscapes.
A 3D image of a dinosaur footprint created by the team from University of Queensland using the research techniques described in the article above (supplied by Steve Salisbury).