July 24 (UPI) -- Paleontologists have identified the owner of the largest dinosaur foot ever found.
The 150-million-year-old foot belonged to a brachiosaur, a member of the group of long-necked vegetable-eaters known as sauropods. Scientists believe the dinosaur was closely related to the long-tailed, long-necked brachiosaurus.
The massive foot fossil was first recovered in 1998 from outcroppings of Upper Jurassic strata in Wyoming's Black Hills.
"There are tracks and other incomplete skeletons from Australia and Argentina that seem to be from even bigger animals, but those gigantic skeletons were found without the feet," Emanuel Tschopp, a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, said in a news release. "This beast was clearly one of the biggest that ever walked in North America."
Until now, researchers have simply referred to the owner of the fossil as "Bigfoot." But a thorough examination -- including 3D imaging, detailed measurements and comparison with the feet of several dinosaur species -- revealed the most likely owner of the foot.
The thorough examination confirmed the fossil foot as the largest recovered to date, and also expanded the established range of brachiosaurs.
Researchers detailed their identification efforts this week in the journal PeerJ.