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Re: POLITICALLY INCORRECT UTAH DINOSAURS! :)
Ray and list-
For those interested in the 'problem' of tail dragging in dinosaurs, the
current (June 23) issue of SCIENCE NEWS, page 397, column 1, tell us >that
on a 50-acre parcel of land in St. George, Utah, owned by Sheldon >Johnson,
there are "...More than 100 footprints of meat-eating theropod >dinosaurs
which have been uncovered here, as well as grooves where the
>creatures'tails dragged in the mud."
I've seen these tracks and they are gorgeous! The supposed "tail drag" was
identified by a paleontologist (whose name I can't remember) who had
identified a similar tail drag in China. Though most of the exposed tracks
have been placed under a temporary shelter, the "tail drag" was not, and it
has since weathered very badly - I would dare say that it has been rendered
unrecognizable since I was there several months ago.
The fossil tracks are said to range from 5 to 18 inches in length. Note
that they were made in deep mud, and some went so deep that a hallux
(digit I) imprint is recorded. Perhaps the mud depth might have >resulted
in tail drag marks where, normally, the tail might have been suspended
somewhat above the surface.
The only track I know of that preserves the hallux also preserves most of
the lower limb! You can actually see the drum stick! To my untrained eye,
the hallux appears reversed, but that just may be mud-disfiguration (what
implications that would have, though!). Kirkland and various other
paleontologists have interpreted this track as a dino-slip, but it looks
more like the animal was "squatting" in the mud (only one leg is preserved,
though). If you can't tell, I was most impressed by this track.
I think these ichnites may have been discussed earlier on this list.
The SCIENCE NEWS article says that, thankfully, Sheldon Johnson wants >the
site to be made a U.S. national monument, and I say three cheers for
Johnson, who had previously planned to turn the site into an industrial
These tracks were mentioned on the list, as I read about them in the
archives. Interestingly, I live roughly two hours from St. George, and
Sheldon Johnson is my grandpa's cousin, but the first I heard of the tracks
was from this list...I guess I need to get out more!
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