A four-year-old girl found a dinosaur footprint touted as one of the “best examples” ever found in the UK while out walking with her dad during lockdown.
Lily Wilder made the discovery earlier in January while out with father Richard at Bendricks Bay, near Barry.
The South Wales beach is notable for its prehistoric prints, and the latest example is thought to be around 220 million years old.
It has now been removed and taken to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff to be studied.
Lily’s mum Sally said: “Lily saw it when they were walking along and said ‘Daddy look’.
“When Richard came home and showed me the photograph I thought it looked amazing.
“Richard thought it was too good to be true. I was put in touch with experts who took it from there.
“We were thrilled to find out it really was a dinosaur footprint and I am happy that it will be taken to the national museum where it can be enjoyed and studied for generations.”
It is not known what creature made the mark, which is 10cm long, but it is thought to have been around 75cm tall and 2.5m long, walking on two legs and preying on bugs and smaller creatures.
Similar footprints have been found in the US, which belonged to a dinosaur called Coelophysis, although no evidence of this creature has been previously found in the UK.
Cindy Howells, the palaeontology curator at the National Museum of Wales, said: “This fossilised dinosaur footprint from 220 million years ago is one of the best-preserved examples from anywhere in the UK and will really aid palaeontologists to get a better idea about how these early dinosaurs walked.
“Its acquisition by the museum is mainly thanks to Lily and her family who first spotted it.
“During the COVID pandemic, scientists from Amgueddfa Cymru have been highlighting the importance of nature on people’s doorstep and this is a perfect example of this.
“Obviously, we don’t all have dinosaur footprints on our doorstep but there is a wealth of nature local to you if you take the time to really look close enough.”
Special permission had to be sought to remove the footprint from the beach, as it is a site of Special Scientific Interest and owned privately.