August 22, 2012
Dinosaur Tracks Found On NASA’s Maryland Campus
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe OnlineThis summer, a dinosaur tracker had discovered a large dino footprint from a prehistoric armored animal in Greenbelt, Maryland. Ray Stanford has been tracking these dino footprints for years, and says he believes this specific footprint belongs to the Nodosaur, a beast which could have left the track as many as 112 million years ago.
This latest discovery is one of hundreds of footprints Stanford has found in his years of keeping his eyes close to the ground. However, what makes this fossilized footprint so special is the ground on which it was located.
In a beautiful bit of juxtaposition which can only happen naturally and organically, this Nodosaur print was found on the grounds of NASA´s Greenbelt, Maryland campus. So while 7,000 engineers and scientists are keeping their eyes skyward to discover where our society may one day end up, one man chose to keep his eyes to the ground to discover evidence of the creatures who ruled the Earth millions of years before us; Millions of years before something from the sky presumably changed the Earth forever and made way for our existence.
The footprint itself is described as a “scalloped mini crater” with 4 toe prints embedded into the now fossilized rock. Its size is close to that of an elephant´s footprint and is reportedly very easily seen through the grass on the NASA Greenbelt grounds. As Stanford led NASA officials on the short journey to show off his discovery, many couldn´t believe its size or its plain visibility, according to the Washington Post.
For now, NASA officials are saying they accept the discovery as a real, authentic Dino footprint. Area experts are now being called in to confirm the find and look for other evidence of the Nodosaur´s presence on this ground all those millions of years ago.
Stanford also showed off his latest discovery to a noted Dino expert, David Weishampel, from John Hopkins University. Weishampel has a good bit of experience with dinosaurs from this area and even wrote a book entitled “Dinosaurs of the East Coast.”
After investigating the footprint, Weishampel has confirmed that the print is very real. “Ray showed it to me, and I was overwhelmed,” said Weishampel in a telephone interview to the Washington Post.
“As a scientist, I´m skeptical of things like this. But it has all the detail you want. It´s got toe prints and sort of a heel print that´s starting to erode away.”
“It looks like a Nodosaur.”
According to Stanford, these dinosaurs were huge beasts, decked with thick, spiky armor and ridged with big “nodes,” from which the Nodosaur gets its name. These animals were vegetarians and kept a low profile in order to stay away from predator attacks.
“It's a pretty wonderful experience to come across something that's 112 million years old, that no one has ever seen,” said Stanford, speaking to area reporters. “I've compared Nodosaurs to a tank on four feet. They were really heavy and large, and really well armored like a tank.”
Calling this particular find “poetic,” Stanford concluded by saying, “Space scientists may walk along here, and they´re walking exactly where this big, bungling heavy armored dinosaur walked, maybe 110 to 112-million years ago.”