Some of the Longest Dinosaur Tracks Ever Discovered
The current heatwave in Texas has dried up the Paluxy River and exposed a set of fossilized dinosaur footprints imprinted on the riverbed. The tracks were left by two dinosaurs: Acrocanthosaurus (a relative of the T-Rex) and Sauroposeidon, which sported a long neck and weighed over forty tons. Both these impressive creatures left their mark over 100 million years ago.
These dinosaur tracks are particularly impressive in part because of how long they are. The length of the trail left behind by these creatures is one of the longest complete paths ever discovered in the modern day.
Track fossilization can happen in a variety of ways—usually muddy or otherwise wet land is imprinted with the tracks. This track then rapidly dries out and if covered in silt, is preserved underground.
Fossil tracks are extremely valuable in understanding an extinct animal’s behaviors, even more so than bones. It's one of the few ways we have at understanding what the animal was like in life, rather than just its skeleton.
Tracks allow paleontologists to understand the animal’s weight and movements, and if the tracks of multiple animals are present, one can also speculate as to how they interacted with other members of their herd.
Dinosaur footprints appeared as a specimen in Mini Museum Age of Dinosaurs, which is an excellent way to learn more about the tracks from the prehistoric creatures!
While these tracks do allow some speculation into the behavior of these two species of dinosaurs, it’s also a stark indicator of the toll climate change is taking on our planet. These tracks were uncovered due to the drying of a river during one of the worst droughts the region has ever seen. It’s a reminder that if we don’t want to go the way of the dinosaurs, urgent action is needed to address the ongoing crisis.
The full length of the trail really is quite impressive and the folks over at Dinosaur Valley State Park have created a video on Facebook documenting a walk across the tracks you can see here!