A gang of idiotic and thoughtless vandals did something that cannot be fixed. In a “sad and callous” act of idiocy, the criminals took a hammer to a 115-million-year-old dinosaur footprint that was found in Victoria, Australia back in 2006. Although the dinosaur footprint was a one-of-a-kind fossil that belonged to a medium-sized theropod, the vandals decided to destroy it nonetheless.
Only when officials took a tour group of students to the fossil did they realize that the vandals had gotten to it overnight.
The vandals apparently took a hammer to the historic site in Australia. And on Wednesday, authorities have come forward to oust the vandals and announce their intention to find and prosecute them.
“It is so disappointing,” Parks Victoria ranger Brian Martin told ABC News, according to the Telegraph. “It’s a popular, significant site. 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.”
Paleontologists found the footprint at Flat Rocks in Victoria a decade ago. It is only one of a few polar, or ice-age, dinosaur sites in the world, the Daily Mail reports.
“It is sad to think a person or persons who knew the location of the footprint would deliberately damage an important local icon that is recognized as being of international scientific significance,” said Martin, according to the Daily Mail.
“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,” Martin added.
After the footprint was found in 2006, paleontologists made a silicon rubber mold of the print so it could be studied. Instead of removing the imprint itself, the group of scientists decided to leave it out in nature so more people could appreciate it where they had initially found it. Apparently, stupid vandals agreed that they would destroy it so no one could enjoy it in its pure beauty anymore.
The footprint was found among the Dinosaur Dreaming site that is in a rocky area of the Bunurong Marine Park. The area was first discovered in 1991 and has since produced numerous samples from prehistoric times. But this footprint was found more recently.
The footprint was significant because it represented a moment frozen in time. This was a carnivorous dinosaur that had stepped in that mud millions of years ago before humans were even conceived for life on this planet.
Mike Cleeland, from the Bunurong Environment Centre, has hope that the footprint can be repaired.
“The thrill of seeing a real dinosaur footprint has been diminished with the callous act of vandalism,” Cleeland said. “Fortunately, I was able to retrieve some of the broken pieces of the footprint, and hopefully the technicians at Museum Victoria may be able to restore the footprint to some degree.”
How should these vandals be punished for destroying this priceless history?