"These tracks are evidence that we had sizable, flying birds living alongside other kinds of dinosaurs on these polar, river floodplains, about 105 million years ago," Anthony Martin, a paleontologist at Emory University in Atlanta, said in a statement. “The picture of early bird evolution in the Southern Hemisphere is mostly incomplete … but with these tracks, it just got a little better."
The latest fossilized tracks found at Dinosaur Cove were discovered by volunteers working at the site. Martin and his colleagues later analyzed the prehistoric prints, and determined them to be Australia’s earliest bird tracks.
The researchers noted a long drag mark made by a rear toe leading up to one of the bird’s footprints, indicating the imprints had been left by a creature that could fly.