Image: Comparing dinosaur footprints

Comparing dinosaur footprints

Diagram comparing footprints from six different types of dinosaur.

© Australian Museum


Footprints are analysed in terms of length, width, shape, number of toes and size of the heel impression to reveal the type, but not species, of the dinosaurs that made them.

The six sets of footprints in this diagram are from the following types of dinosaur (left to right):

  1. sauropod
  2. ceratopsian
  3. ankylosaur
  4. ornithopod
  5. small theropod
  6. large theropod

Naming dinosaur footprints

Scientific names are given to dinosaur footprints. The name usually ends in ‘opus’, which is derived from the Greek pous meaning ‘foot’. These names do not refer to any particular dinosaur because it is almost impossible to know the exact species that made a footprint.

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