Dinosaurs on the edge of the M40 have been causing trouble in Oxfordshire again.
No, not our own technology dinosaur, esteemed editor and Oxford resident Mike Magee, nor any other dinosaurs that enjoy an ale down the Rose & Crown. Actual dinosaurs that lived and trampled all over the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside 165 million years ago, and they’re now at the centre of a fuss storm.
Brachiosaurus and Tyrannosaurus tracks discovered in 1997 preserved in the mud by the motorway, like chavs’ footprints in fresh cement, are to be protected as part of a geological conservation site.
The footprints were formed by a gang of marauding Jurassic dinosaurs mooching along the coast from Norfolk to London, via Oxfordshire, at speed of up to 20 miles per hour.
Natural England is working with the owners and operators of the site to ensure that the fossilised tracks are preserved, like a Banksy. However there is worry that during the four months and public consultation to make site of special scientific interest (SSSI) the dino-foot shaped holes in the ground may be harmed.
“[Once the site is protected] the site’s owner, or anyone else with reason to make changes to the site, must ask Natural England for permission before such changes can be made,” the spokesperson from Natural England said.
The footprints have also been covered with a protective layer to prevent exposure to the elements and damage from erosion, or locals (like Mike) trying to put their feet in them to compare size.