Severe drought in Glen Rose, Texas uncovered 113 million-year-old dinosaur footprints in a riverbed at Dinosaur Valley State Park recently. Similarly, 112 million-year-old tracks were found in Utah this April. The park announced the discovery in a statement, while park spokesperson Stephanie Salinas Garcia explained the find in detail to CNN. Check out the amazing photos here.
“Most tracks that have recently been uncovered and discovered at different parts of the river in the park belong to Acrocanthosaurus,” said Garcia. “This was a dinosaur that would stand, as an adult, about 15 feet tall and [weigh] close to seven tons.”
What is an Acrocanthosaurus?
The Acrocanthosaurus is classified as a theropod. These were carnivorous, bipedal dinosaurs that ranged from delicately built to huge beefy guys, scientifically speaking. The T-Rex was a theropod; mostly these dinosaurs had tiny arms and large heads. The Acrocanthosaurus was originally discovered in the 1940s. But, it didn’t gain much traffic in the scientific world until it was rediscovered in 1950 by J. Willis Stovall and Wann Langston, Jr. They were traveling in Oklahoma when they found the fossilized bones. Acrocanthosaurus has mostly been found in the American West in places like Texas and Wyoming. But, it has also been found in Maryland as well.
There were also Sauroposeidon tracks in the riverbed as well. Garcia stated that this dinosaur grew around 60 feet tall and weighed about 44 tons. In 1938, a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History traveled to Glen Rose, TX to study footprints found in the Paluxy River, which now runs through the Dinosaur Valley State Park. Roland T. Bird found a trackway of both Sauroposeidon and Acrocanthosaurus footprints. The Acrocanthosaurus prints closely followed the Sauroposeidon prints, and Bird came to the conclusion that it was possible the Acrocanthosaurus was hunting the Sauroposeidon. So, these two dinosaurs have been linked for hundreds of millions of years.
Dinosaur Tracks Found in Texas Riverbed Due to Severe Drought
In Dinosaur Valley State Park, part of the experience is seeing the dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River. But, in normal conditions, the tracks are filled with water and sediment. This makes them harder to see. Now, with this drought over Texas, the tracks have come to the surface.
“Being able to find these discoveries and experience new dinosaur tracks is always an exciting time at the park!” said Garcia. Though, the process of the tracks being uncovered and then hidden again by heavy rain actually protects the tracks. Because the lake occasionally dries out in drought conditions, the tracks are given a break from water erosion. When they are covered again, they are protected from weathering and wind erosion.
“While these newer dinosaur tracks were visible for a brief amount of time, it brought about the wonder and excitement about finding new dinosaur tracks at the park,” said Garcia.