River drought reveals dinosaur footprints in Texas.
These tracks are believed to have been left by a species of theropod.
This week we have been surprised with a new discovery in palaeontology. Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas has a whole collection of dinosaur tracks. This place is known as the Capital of Dinosaurs due to the many fossils found. More than 100 million years ago, these animals inhabited the area.
This new discovery was made possible by the drought plaguing the Glen Rose, Texas region. According to NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System, Somervell County is experiencing exceptional drought. This caused the flow of the Paluxy River to decrease considerably, exposing the tracks.
The Dinosaur Valley State Park shared a video through its Facebook account where you can see the fossils. These are tracks belonging to some theropod. In the clip, you can also see how experts and volunteers work to remove the mud and clean as many footprints as possible to map the path that dinosaurs followed millions of years ago.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, two tracks can be found at the site: sauropod and theropod tracks. The former are huge dinosaurs characterized by a long neck, a small head, a wide tail, and thick legs, similar to modern elephants. Footprints of this type are believed to have been made by a Sauroposeidon proteles.
For their part, theropods are characterized by having limbs with three fingers. They are smaller beings, and the tracks of this species in the Valley of the Dinosaur are attributed to Acrocanthosaurus . It is worth mentioning that these footprints do not always follow the pattern of the three fingers since they are marked on deep mud, which is why they are sometimes “elongated” and “hidden”.
Currently there are 5 sites along the Paluxy river basin where you can find a lot of theropod and sauropod tracks. Most of them form trails and at some points you can see footprints in different directions.
The first traces were discovered thanks to a flood in 1908. The flow of the Paluxy River grew to epic proportions and swept away the bed, taking away bridges and culverts. A year later, a nine-year-old boy named George Adams discovered something unusual in the river: the tracks of a three-toed animal. After two decades, a fossil collector at the American Museum of Natural History in New York named RT Bird saw the theropod tracks in a store and decided to travel to Texas to see them with his own eyes.
There he also found sauropod footprints, which are the first evidence of the existence of this animal. By 1972, the Dinosaur Valley State Park was inaugurated, an almost 6 million square meters area destined to preserve the sites with footprints.