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AP news: Funds to Preserve Dinosaur Footprints
Tuesday October 2 6:16 PM ET
Funds to Preserve Dinosaur Footprints
By JENNIFER HOYT, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Fossilized dinosaur footprints, tail draggings and
skin imprints found last year in Utah would be preserved under a bill
passed Tuesday by the House.
The legislation, passed on a voice vote, would provide up to $500,000
for the city of St. George, Utah, to purchase and preserve 10 acres
where the fossils were found. Supporters said the prints, discovered in
February 2000 and preserved in sandstone, are being eroded by heat and wind.
``We have to move fast or the detail in those prints will be gone
forever,'' said Rep. James Hansen, R-Utah, chairman of the House
Marnie Funk, a spokeswoman for the committee, said 140,000 visitors have
been attracted to the site by the prints, which are 135 million to 200
million years old.
Approximately 150 prints were found, including some from Dilophosaurus,
the first big meat-eater of the Jurassic period.
``The tourism has pretty much jammed traffic,'' Funk said. ``It's
affected the whole region.''
Scientists consider the prints significant because of their clarity and
Rep. James Matheson, D-Utah, said scientists are calling the fossils
``one of the best collections of dinosaur footprints ever on Earth.''
``These 150 footprints show the tracks of multiple species of
dinosaurs,'' he said. ``They are detailed, revealing claws, three toes
and the joints where dinosaurs may have crouched down.''
The bill instructs the Interior Department to provide technical
assistance to protect what would be known as the Virgin River Dinosaur
Footprint Preserve, and to establish research and educational programs.
It also provides up to $500,000 to St. George to implement those
programs and requires the city to match those funds dollar for dollar.
There is no companion measure in the Senate.
The bill is H.R. 2385.
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