What compels some people to destroy? Though this question may never be answered, we can’t help but ask it following a development which occurred last week in Australia.
During a group tour to the Bunurong Marine Park, school kids destroyed a footprint made by a three-toed theropod approximately 115 million years ago. According to the Parks Victoria ranger, the damage was done “deliberately.”
As Science Alert reports, the area is known as the Dinosaur Dreaming site, and is an important region for paleontology. Reportedly, it represents a time when Australia was still connected to Antarctica. As a result, it remains one of the few high-latitude dinosaur sites in the world.
To date, over 6,000 bones and teeth have been found in Dinosaur Dreaming site, making it an incredibly “rich” location for dinosaur fossil exploration. Not only does it provide unique data on Early Cretaceous dinosaur diversity, it exists as a thriving polar ecosystem.
The footprint that was destroyed is believed to have been made by a theropod. The bipedal meat-eating dinosaur was related to the infamous T. rex., and was not a carnivore you’d want to cross back in the day.
When the footprint was first discovered, a silicon mould was made by paleontologists. Rather than excavate it, however, they chose to leave it exactly where it was for the enjoyment of visitors. Unfortunately, parts of the footprint’s toes are now missing, due to the vandals.
“The rock there is reasonably hard, so it looks like it’s been hit with a hammer and pieces of the rock around the edge of the footprint have been broken away,” Parks Victoria ranger Brian Martin told the ABC. “For someone to damage it intentionally, you’d have to have a rough idea of where it is because seaweed grows on the rock platform and it looks like a normal rock until you look closely and see the outline of the footprint.”
The dinosaur footprint will never again be the same. And, as Leslie Kool of Dinosaur Dreaming says, “it leaves a sour taste in the mouth that anyone would deliberately destroy something to has brought pleasure to so many people over the years.” Parks Victoria is urging people to call 13 1963 if they know anything about the incident.
Though this travesty cannot be reversed, hopefully, this development urges people to think twice before they deface or destroy something deemed to be valuable by others.
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Image Credit: Parks Victoria