The Dinosaur’s Tale

Tales from End to End
The Dinosaur’s Tale

Looking down onto Scalby Bay (or if you get lost and ask a local, Jackson’s Bay) just north of Scarborough the tide is out and the rocky foreshore reveals a series of sinuous curves, to a lay man they look just like river channels frozen in time. Perhaps not surprisingly local geologist Will Watts from Scarborough Museums Trust tells us that they are indeed just that, the fossilised evidence of a large meandering river that once covered this part of North Yorkshire.

The rocks are Jurassic in age, and at around 150 million years old are right in the middle of the period of earth history famous for the dinosaurs. It is the evidence that these dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures left behind on the ancient river banks that have led geologists like Will to this coastline for years. Every creature that walks leaves footprints, dinosaurs were no exception and the Yorkshire coastline has now revealed more than 20 different types of footprint from a wide range of dinosaurs, lizards and crocodiles. Ranging from pigeon size to beasts over well over 3m tall the coastline is world-famous for these footprints, there are however very few bones to find, conditions were apparently not right for them to survive two millennia.

Time means we have little time to explore further but the Rotunda museum in Scarborough, the Yorkshire Museum in York and Whitby Museum all have displays covering these unique features and the stories they tell. As we continue north the rocks get older and older, best keep our eyes peeled for any dinosaurs… !

Will Watts is Head of Public Programmes at the Scarborough Museums Trust