Dinosaur tracks

To turn, or not to turn, that is the question!

Collected in 1981 as part of large project involving a team of volunteers led by Paul Ensom, Assistant Curator and geologist at the Dorset County Museum. Mr D. Selby was the discoverer and landowner.
This is only a small part of the trackway-covered limestone surface which was recovered. In total 170 recognisable footprints were recorded, the majority being tridactyl, or three toed. The tracks were tentatively identified as belonging to the herbivorous dinosaur, Iguanodon, and the more fearsome predator, known as a Megalosaurus.
The displayed section is of one trackway. The dinosaur making the track initially turned to the left before hesitating, and then after adjusting the position of its feet, resumed the original direction. A unique moment of indecision recorded from 140 million years ago! Look carefully towards the top of the image and there is a suggestion of ripple marks; this trackway was once the shore of a swamp or lagoon across which the dinosaur roamed.

This limestone pavement currently on display in the Jurassic Coast gallery and is about 4m long by 2m wide.



Common name

Dinosaur tracks

Scientific name



Trace Fossils


Laning Vain, Purbeck Limestone Group

Time period

Lower Cretaceous


140 million years

Where found

Townsend Road building site, Swanage

Found by

Mr Selby, recovered by Paul Ensom with volunteers


Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

Accession number