October 6, 2011
Researchers Discover Dinosaur Footprints In Arkansas
Researchers have discovered a field of 120-million-year-old dinosaur footprints in southwestern Arkansas.
The field is about the size of two football fields and contains fossilized tracks of several species of dinosaur.
The University of Arkansas researchers said that a three-toed print from one of the species had never been documented in Arkansas before.
The researchers said the print may have belonged to Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, which was one of the largest predators ever.
The newly discovered site also contains the giant prints of sauropods, which are long-necked, planet-eating dinosaurs like Pleurocoelus and Paluxysaurus.
"The quality of the tracks and the length of the track ways make this an important site," Stephen Boss, who led the National Science Foundation-funded project, said in a press release.
“Picture an environment much like that of the shores of the Persian Gulf today. The air temperature was hot. The water was shallow and very salty,” Boss said. “It was a harsh environment. We´re not sure what the animals were doing here, but clearly they were here in some abundance.”
The researchers said this discovery could help scientists learn more about the creatures and climate of Earth about 115 to 120 million years ago.
"Through tracks, we can learn all sorts of things about dinosaur biomechanics and behavior," Brian Platt of the University of Kansas said in a statement. "Dinosaur bones can be dragged away by animals or swept out to sea. But we know that about 120 million years ago, dinosaurs walked right through here."
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