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Re: Threatened Utah Dinosaur Track Find Shows Dino Posterior



Dear List,

    I was at the Site in Late January, and two things stood out to me. First
of all, The abundance of breath taking trackway impressions is staggering. I
was able to see footprints with scale impressions, and there is one negative
print of the intire back of a theropod foot, all the way up to the Tibia and
Fibia. It shows the tendon that attaches from the lower legs to the back of
the metatarsals. It is extremely robust. Much thicker than say an ostrich or
emu's are.
    They are not kidding when they say that time is of the essence to remove
and catalog the fossil material. There is an industrial plaza going up
across the street, along with plans to expand the road to a four lane. I
actually witnessed earth movers destroying layers of plant fossil
impressions, and heaven alone knows what else, to make a parking lot. We, of
course, where not allowed on that property.
    The shining beacon in all this is the people of Saint George, Utah. The
Friends of Paleontology Chapter in Southwest Utah is the Largest in the
State, and they have Many dedicated volunteers bailing out the tides. The
Property owners Sheldon and Laverna Johnson donated the land to preserve the
trackways and build a museum is a Godsend. They knew fully well that the
land they gave away is worth millions of dollars.They told me that
preserving the Site for future generations was worth more than any amount of
money.

Cliff Green

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard W. Travsky" <rtravsky@uwyo.edu>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2004 3:23 PM
Subject: Threatened Utah Dinosaur Track Find Shows Dino Posterior


> There's a number of google news hits for this, see
>
>
http://www.newsday.com/news/science/wire/sns-ap-dinosaur-tracks,0,7108262.st
ory?coll=sns-ap-science-headlines
>
> for what that looks like; the Salt Lake Tribune has a different writeup
> (no pictures tho):
>
> http://www.sltrib.com/2004/Mar/03262004/utah/151299.asp
>
> About 200 million years ago, along the shores of a lake in southern Utah,
> a 20-foot-long dinosaur sat down, perhaps to savor a fish dinner or maybe
> dry off from a swim.
>
> The meat-eating beast appears to have stood up, staggered forward, sat
> back down and finally gotten up to walk away. Utah paleontologists last
> Wednesday uncovered rare impressions from this dinosaur activity in St.
> George, near a collection of sandstone dinosaur tracks.
>
> Despite the potential importance of the impressions, they are already
> destined for destruction. To build a structure to protect the nearby
> dinosaur tracks, backhoes would trample the delicate new find in a few
> weeks, said Andrew Milner, St. George's city paleontologist.
>
> "We're pressed for time," he said. "It's a little bit disappointing."
>
> James Kirkland, the state paleontologist, said the impressions were
> only found now because scientists were investigating the area around the
> building, which will become a dinosaur museum.
>
> "We're working really hard to document this thing up and down,
> backward and forward," Kirkland said. Paleontologists hope to remove the
> impressions intact, but some prints may be destroyed in the process,
> Milner said. Researchers have photographed and traced over the area and
> will create a latex impression of it, Milner said.
>
> Kirkland said paleontologists can only speculate on what the 1,000-pound
> dinosaur was doing when it left the marks. But considering the fact that
> Utah was a vast desert in the Jurassic era, when the prints were made, the
> 100-mile-wide body of water was likely an oasis. Milner said the
> freshwater lake supported many species of fish, which could have served as
> dinosaur food.
>
> While the tracks do not reveal exactly what kind of dinosaur left them, it
> was likely related to dilophosaurus remains found in the area. [...]
>
> Martin Lockley, a geologist at the University of Colorado at Denver, saw
> the impressions last week and called them a significant find.
>
> "Traces of squatting dinosaurs are very rare," Lockley said.
>
> Information gleaned from these traces could offer new insights into
> dinosaur behavior.
>
> Milner said paleontologists have discovered few dinosaur hand prints
> like the ones in St. George.
>
> "You can see the claws touching down and everything," he said.
> [...]
>